Sunday, January 29, 2023

Are you eating enough?


A balanced diet with adequate daily calorie intake is essential for optimum health in seniors, writes Vinita Alvares Fernandes

Did you know that around 365 million years ago, prehistoric fish decided to leave water for land, and now there are 8 billion humans?

Yes, today according to the UN projections, the population of Earth will reach the 8 billion milestone! 

In 1925 there were just 2-billion humans on earth. In 1974 there were 4-billion humans on earth, a number that doubled in less than 50 years and today 2022 we have doubled our numbers again in 50 years. An epic growth spurt in a century! Economists say, the world population is expected to be 10.4 billion by 2080 and then fall by the 22nd century.

What drove the growth? 

People are living longer. 

-Child and maternal mortality rates are down. 

-Scientists have developed cures for deadly diseases. 

-Extreme poverty rates world over have plunged.

Why the fall?

-Fertility rates are declining, late marriages and family planning.

-The populations of 61 countries are projected to drop by at least 1% by 2050, with Eastern Europe suffering the biggest losses.

-Fewer kids means fewer workers contributing to the economy, at the same time older adults will require financial support. Everything from our cities to our healthcare systems will need to be realigned.

-While dozens of nations are grappling with population loss, countries – Nigeria, Tanzania, and Pakistan, will account for more than half of the projected population increase by 2050. Such blistering population growth can strain resources and make it harder to reduce poverty and provide education.

Society will need to be reshaped! (Source: The UN)

With all this said, what is of prime importance is to live a healthy life to procreate or reach golden years. Eating too much is always squirmed down on versus eating too little. Do note, that eating too little is as trying on the body and counter active to health.

Watch out for signs that you are not eating enough — 

Low energy levels — The number of calories (units of energy your body uses to function) needed by the body to facilitate basic functions for every 24-hours is known as your resting metabolic rate. That number is 1000 calories. If you exercise, you need to increase your calorie intake and vice versa. The1000- calorie bench mark is important, especially as older adults where appetites decrease, balanced diets are at bay, all this leads to low energy levels and can cause fatigue turning ones daily routine into movement only for basic functioning. 

“Forcefully eat a balanced diet and maintain the calorie intake.“


Constant hunger — Did you know that if your calorie intake drops your body will send signals to drive you to eat and store the food as fat incase it experiences starvation? 

Did you know that being hungry is a sign you are not eating enough and this can also lead to hormone imbalance especially Leptin and IGF-1 (appetite-supressing hormones) which increases food cravings and ultimately weight gain. 

“Forcefully eat a balanced diet and maintain the calorie intake.” 


Stress, Anxiety and irritability — Low calorie intake is known to increase production of the stress hormone Cortisol, linked to hunger pangs and belly fat. Anxiety is also connected to low calorie intake, dieting does lead to mood swings and irritability. If little things have begun bothering you and trigger negative actions by you such as losing your temper, no patience to deal with small stuff know that you may not be eating enough. To minimize these negative feelings while on a weight loss or weight control programme, eat omega-3 fatty acid rich foods like fatty fish, flax seeds, millets.

 “Forcefully eat a balanced diet and maintain the calorie intake.”

Sleep issues — Ever felt you cant sleep because you can hear your tummy rumble? Yes strict dieting or restricted eating can lead to sleep problems, either difficulty falling asleep or taking longer time to fall deep asleep . Sleep deprivation can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain and poor quality sleep. Make sure you are not too hungry to fall asleep or waking up hungry.

“Forcefully eat a balanced diet and maintain the calorie intake.”

Cold extremities — You may notice that you feel cold more frequently and your extrimeties (toes and finger tips) are cold a lot, this could be a sign of not enough food. Your body needs to burn a certain number of calories in order to create heat and maintain a healthy, comfortable body temperature. In fact, even mild calorie restriction shows to lower body temperature. The lower the calorie intake, the colder you are likely to feel. Check your T3 thyroid hormone levels.

Forcefully eat a balanced diet and maintain the calorie intake. 


Hair loss — Every older adult does take pride in their crowning glory, hair loss is stressful and to see the diminishing hairline along with the greying can be a huge social setback for many. Hair loss or thinning can be for multiple reasons but one cause for sure is not eating a nutritious diet on a regular basis. Calorie intake, protein, vitamins and minerals on a daily basis is vital otherwise naturally your body will use the key nutrients to upkeep your organs such as your heart, brain over hair and nails. 

Forcefully eat a balanced diet and maintain the calorie intake. 

Constipation — It’s a vicious circle; low food intake will result in less fibre? Waste in the digestive track, leading to infrequent bowel movement. This is the cause for hardened stools, bloating and constipation. This is very common in older adults, where you have less than three bowel movements a week due to a combination of loss of appetite and poor diet. It slows down the metabolic rate, so take a good look at what you are eating, how much you are eating and evaluate whether you are consuming enough on a daily basis at each meal. That’s the way to handle constipation.

Forcefully eat a balanced diet and maintain the calorie intake. 

In the End —

Make sure your calorie intake is 1200 per day, no over eating or under eating.

Make sure you look out for the signs discussed above.

Make sure your health problems are taken care of, mental, physical and emotional.


Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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