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This teenager was blind and partially deaf after eating only Pringles, French fries and white bread for a decade.



This cautionary tale can make your children eat vegetables.

A British teenager, described as a brazen eater, blind and partially deaf after carrying nothing but potato chips, sausages, french fries and white bread in the last decade, according to a troubling case study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine during the weekend.

The 17-year-old, not mentioned in the report, had visited a GP three years earlier, complaining of fatigue. At this time, tests show that he is anemic and has low levels of vitamin B12, so he starts taking vitamin injections and receiving dietary advice. But his height and BMI were normal, so doctors didn't suspect any major nutritional issues.

By the age of 1

5, however, his vision and hearing began to deteriorate. Now 17, he has suffered permanent vision loss, partial hearing loss, and bone weakness. So researchers at the University of Bristol investigated his case. And after ruling out factors such as his BMI, family history, medications or drug and alcohol use, they found that his poor diet had damaged the optic nerve bad enough to cause blindness.

Related: Sugar free soda associated with a higher risk of death in a study of 452,000 people

In fact, he developed a condition known as nutritional optic neuropathy (NON), which is more common in countries where extreme poverty, drought and war have led to widespread hunger and malnutrition. (Cuba suffered an epidemic of optical and peripheral neuropathy, which affected more than 50,000 people in the early 1990s, where nutritional deficiencies were a key factor.) Further tests found that it still had a vitamin B12 deficiency, and low levels of copper and selenium. such as "significantly reduced" levels of vitamin D and bone mineral density. (These vital nutrients are found in lean beef and poultry, fatty fish, leafy green vegetables, dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds and other parts of a healthy, balanced diet.)

After questioning him about his daily habits for eating, they learned that she eats fried potatoes from the local fish and chips shop every day. He also lived on chips, white bread, fresh ham slices and Pringle sausages from elementary school, as he disliked textured foods. This has led researchers to diagnose it with restrictive-restriction eating disorder, or AFRID, which is a relatively new diagnosis that describes subjects who are sensitive to the taste, texture, smell, and appearance of certain types of foods or when someone shows lack of interest in food. They noted that in many cases of AFRID, as in this case, the patient has what is considered normal BMI, so the problem is not always obvious.

Related: This is the right way to consume carbohydrates

About two billion people worldwide are affected by nutritional deficiencies. However, in high-income countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, they are usually caused by bowel problems (such as celiac disease and Crohn's disease) that get mixed up with the important nutrients in the stomach, drug use or improper diet combined with alcoholism or smoking. It is rarely the case that purely dietary causes lead to nutritional optic neuropathy in developed countries, although researchers warn that this type of condition may become more common as more consumers choose junk food over more nutritious foods or as the rise of veganism (which cuts off fish, meat, eggs and dairy) causes some people to not get enough vitamin D or B12 in their diets if they do not supplement properly.

"Vitamins play a very important role in maintaining eye health," Dr. Valery Elmalem, a neuro-ophthalmologist at New York's Sinai Eye and Ear Clinic, told MarketWatch. These nutrients include Vitamin A, which is found in orange foods such as carrots and mangoes, which keep the eye surface moist and help with night vision. But B vitamins, iron and thiamine (found in beef, liver, nuts, oranges, eggs and fortified rice, bread, cereals and pasta) are also vital.

"You can get thiamine deficiency in just three weeks, which can affect the optic nerve, the way the eyes move, and it can also affect your memory," she said. "I think a few years on this diet [teen’s] would certainly lead to deficiencies that are severe enough to cause vision loss."

Eye damage can be reversed if nutritional optic neuropathy is captured early , but it was too late in the case of this teenager. The decade of a highly processed diet full of added salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates has taken its toll. (Owner of Pringles Kellogg

K, + 2,20%

did not respond to MarketWatch's request for comment by presstime.)

"Our vision has such an impact on quality of life, education, employment, social interactions and mental health. This case underscores the impact of diet on visual and physical health, as well as the fact that calorie intake and BMI are not reliable indicators of nutritional status, ”writes lead author Dr. Denise Atan, clinical guide for neuro-ophthalmology at Bristol Hospital , in a statement. Her team encourages clinicians to consider nutritional neuropathy in all patients with unexplained vision problems and poor diet, regardless of their BMI. (After all, this patient's BMI was normal, so it was not obvious that he was malnourished.)

Dr. Atan also wrote in a companion article that vitamins in the B, iron, calcium, magnesium and copper groups were not being taken, which cause optical neuropathy and are "easily diagnosed as other disorders if the doctor has no nutritional history".

But your vision is not the only reason to watch what you eat. The USDA warns that about half of all adults in America have one or more chronic conditions – including diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease – that are often associated with poor diet. Read the USDA Nutrition Guidelines for Americans here, including questions about caffeine, cholesterol and fat here.

And if you are worried that you or someone you know is having an eating disorder, visit the National Association of Nutrition Disorders website or call (800) 931-2237.


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