A-Z of Health M -Malnutrition

Malnourishment, maybe a word you are surprised to see as it is historically associated with starvation and people in far-away lands not here with the UK.

In the UK we are seeing obesity and malnutrition within the same people.

Sadly, the truth is that you can consume a lot of food and still be malnourished. I discuss this a lot in my work with clients and in my book How Food Shapes Your Child.  When it comes to malnourishment in a western diet it isn’t to do with the quantity of food consumed but the type.

The World Health Organisation has redefined what the world thinks of as being malnourished”. Malnutrition literally means bad nutrition – that’s anyone who isn’t adequately nourished, not people who are actually starving.

Global Nutrition Report 2016

How can this be happening?

  • There are a lot of empty calories around – even the NHS campaign promoting health promotes 100 kcal snacks and includes snacks containing empty calories.
  • Foods containing trans fats, salt and sugar are addictive, once you have the taste for them you want more.
  • Foods containing trans fats, salt and sugar are not filling, so you tend to eat larger quantities.
  • Processed foods are practically devoid of micro nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and helpful bacteria.
  • Artificial ingredients in food damage gut bacteria hindering micronutrient absorption
  • Sugar fuels bad bacteria in the gut
  • Trans fats hinder the absorption of essential fatty acids
  • The diet mentality promotes counting calories not nutrients

Now I mention the D word above.  If there is one industry that I strongly dislike it is the diet industry.  For as long as this industry has been around obesity rates have increased as have many health issues including Type 2 Diabetes and malnutrition.

A calorie does not determine the nutrient value of the food, quite often it is the opposite.

I urge you to stop counting calories and look for nutrients instead.  I can help you and in my work on early years nutrition I see a lot of malnourished children please refer to blog posts R – Rickets and S- Scurvy.  Not diseases we should be seeing in the UK in 2019 but both are on the increase.  Malnutrition leaves your immune system depleted.  Our immune system is our first line of defence for small (and big) diseases.

As ever, I am here to help and there are many ways in which you can work with me.

About the author of this blog

Louise Mercieca is a multi award-winning author on children’s nutrition with her book ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’ winning the Parenting award in Janey Lee Grace’s Platinum awards.


Louise regularly appears on the radio as part of her nutrition mission

Louise has also won a SBS or Small Business Sunday award from Theo Paphitis and was recently crowned as Queen of Child Nutrition in the #Queenof Twitter awards.

Louise has worked as a Nutritional Therapist for 8 years supporting hundreds of clients and does take on a limited number of personal coaching clients each month – contact Louise to discuss this. Louise has also created an accessible and affordable webinar schedule covering many topics discussed in this A-Z post series.

Share this Post