Eating a nutrient-poor diet is a lifestyle choice than can have dire health consequences. On the other hand, a balanced diet furnishes your body with a variety of foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, poultry, nuts, legumes and unsaturated fats. Such foods provide all of the nutrients required for optimum health. Consume the right proportions of healthy food to help avoid the disadvantages of a nutrient-poor diet.
Weight Gain and Obesity
Obesity and poor diet often go hand in hand. Consuming a surplus of calories from unhealthy foods can result in excess weight that puts a burden on your body, reduces your energy level and may result in serious health conditions. An article published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in January 2014 described the relationship between diet and weight gain in American children. The study revealed that while having overweight or obesity was related to the consumption of fast foods, the other foods eaten by these children every day were more strongly associated with obesity when the balance of the diet was poor.
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Increased Coronary Artery Disease Risk
A poor diet is a contributing factor to the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. In addition, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and excess body weight -- all related to poor diet -- contribute to plaque buildup. An article published in the "Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging" in 2001 noted that studies provide strong evidence that a diet rich in nutrients contributes to the prevention of coronary heart disease.
Increased Cancer Risk
Processed foods are typically high in calories and saturated fat, as are most meats and whole milk products. A diet high in saturated fats can increase your risk for cancer. These foods can contribute to your having overweight or obesity, which also ups the odds of developing cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, obesity-related cancer types include esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, kidney, thyroid, gallbladder and breast.
Increased Osteoporosis Risk
In the United States, more than 40 million people either have osteoporosis or are at high risk because of low bone mass, according to the National Institutes of Health. A poor diet contributes to the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones -- making them more likely to break. Sufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D are needed to maintain strong bones. A diet lacking in these nutrients, which are found in foods like low-fat milk, yogurt and fortified products, causes your bones to lose mass.
- Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging: Diet and Coronary Heart Disease: Findings From the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals' Follow-up Study
- University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine: Cardiothoracic Surgery
- Colorado State University Extension: Diet and Cancer Prevention
- National Cancer Institute: Obesity and Cancer Risk
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The Association of Fast Food Consumption With Poor Dietary Outcomes and Obesity Among Children: Is It the Fast Food or the Remainder of the Diet?
- NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center: What Is Osteoporosis?