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Malnutrition and the Demonizing of Carbs

Health foods often become a luxury to the already tight, college budgets, and it’s our own health that suffers. But knowing the right food groups and how much you should consume daily can improve the malnutrition of college students.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the U.S. population doesn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, and instead, we over-consume “added sugars, processed meats and trans fats.”

Fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, milk and dairy products and grains and fats make up the five major food groups, and according to the Mayo Clinic and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, there are different recommended serving sizes depending on the goal calorie intake. 

With a goal of 2,000 calories per day, the DASH diet recommends six to eight serving of grains per day, four to five servings of both vegetables and fruits per day, two to three servings of milk products per day, six one-ounce servings of meat, poultry or fish per day, two to three servings of fats and oils per day, four to five servings of nuts or seeds per week and five or fewer servings of sweets and added sugars per week. 

But carbohydrates (carbs) play a special role in students’ diets, whether that be students consuming too many of them or students demonizing them. 

Austen Gross, a blogger for The Winchester Institute of Chiropractic Health and Wellness, wrote, “Somehow the media and this new trendy diet has caused us to think that carbs are the reason we can’t lose weight or look how we want in a bikini.” But carbohydrates don’t have to be demonized. 

The Mayo Clinic said between 900 and 1,300 calories out of the 2,000 calories a day should be carbs. They provide energy, protect against sickness and can help control weight. 

Carbs include foods such as fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts, grains and seeds, which make up a large portion of the major food groups. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are definitely healthier options compared to others within the same category.

Look for fruits and vegetables without added sugars, and choose whole grains over refined grains, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, milk, cheese and other dairy products are high in fat, so low-fat dairy products can be a healthier option. 

Sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, beans, brown rice, almonds and chia seeds are just a few of the healthier carbs. By incorporating these healthy foods into the college student diet, along with foods from the other major food groups, PLNU can wave malnutrition goodbye. 

Written By: Abby Williams