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Why scurvy and rickets are making a comeback

By Rachel O'Regan |


I Quit Sugar - Why scurvy and rickets are making a comeback

Diseases usually found in 18th century naval voyages and wartime rationing are making are a comeback. And disturbingly, they’re showing up in our kids.

The latest research shows that children in the UK are developing Victorian-era diseases such as scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) and rickets (vitamin D deficiency). In Australia, cases of scurvy have also been detected.

But how can this be possible in modern society? It seems that though we have plenty of food, much of it does more harm than good.

Obese and malnourished.

“Malnutrition often conjures images of starving children in the third-world. But obese children in the West are also malnourished,” says general practitioner and health advocate Dr Rupy Aujla.

Health bodies such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF have labelled the condition “hidden hunger” – a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. It may not be as obvious to see, but the obese malnourished are at risk of serious health issues.

“The health complications can range from kwashiorkor (protein deficiency) to neural tube defects to oral cavities. It has a role in almost every health condition you can think of.”

A real food deficiency.

An estimated 85 per cent of U.S. adults do not reach daily nutrient recommendations. A scary number, but not all surprising when but 61 per cent of the average U.S. diet is junk food.

“It’s easy to be be satiated without actually getting all the micronutrients your body relies on. Our bodies can literally starve despite gaining incredible amounts of weight,” says Rupy.

The more junk food you eat, the more you will crave to try and keep your body going. Sugar, in particular, is completely nutrient-void and often addictive.

“Our brain pushes us to continue eating to find true sources of nutrients. Not to mention the effect of junk food on highs and lows of insulin release, disruption of our hormonal rhythms and increased fat tissues.”

How to source cheap fruit and veg.

It’s all well and good to tell people to eat more real food. But data shows that those who experience food insecurity are more likely to be obese, as healthy options are often more expensive and inaccessible in low-income areas.

Rupy’s tips will help you eat more real food on a budget (and, because it’s nourishing, you may find that you actually need to buy less to be satiated).

  • Eat in season. “If possible, seasonal foods can be much cheaper. Also, buy these in bulk and batch cook.”
  • Buy frozen. “Don’t be afraid of frozen wholefoods like peas (they’re really convenient for people who work long shifts like myself and prevent the inevitable takeaways late at night).”
  • Avoid superfoods. “The most nutritious foods are often the cheapest on the shelf. Think cabbages, leeks, pumpkins and cauliflower. All cheap, powerful disease-preventing, nourishing foods.”

Are you surprised Victorian-era diseases are making a comeback?

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