A teenager in the United Kingdom thought it was a great idea to only live off of french fries, Pringles and slices of white bread 24/7. Although that sounds absolutely delicious and can be considered as a meal for some, unfortunately, it’s not. It’s actually very very unhealthy, which is why this savory combination led him to the hospital and he is now legally blind due to malnutrition damage.
According to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the self-made diet left him deficient of B12 vitamins and vital minerals. The teen has been eating the three items and occasional slices of ham or sausage since elementary school. Vegetables and fruits were nearly non-existent in his diet, which makes me believe that his parents were not that great at keeping an eye on him. But, the doctors stated that he always complained about the textures of food which is why he restored to eating crunchy potato chips and junk food every day.
At the age of 14, the picky eater was officially diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency and was advised to take supplements. By 15, he was having hearing loss and vision loss and was referred to a mental health service to be treated for avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder. But, he did the opposite of what he was told and didn’t improve his diet nor took the supplements.
Three years later, the now 17-year-old went to an eye specialist where it was determined the optic nerve was damaged and he was legally blind with 20/200 vision. The teen has nutritional optic neuropathy, which can be treated if diagnosed early. If left untreated or unchecked, the damage to the nerves becomes permanent.
Doctors stated that in addition to the teens B12 deficiency, he was also lacking in vitamin D, selenium, and copper. He was normal weight but was highly malnourished due to the lack of supplements. Dr. Denize Atan of Bristol Eye Hospital stated the teen’s case illustrated the fact that calorie intake and BMI are not reliable indicators of nutritional status.
The B12 deficiency can also be a problem for people who follow the vegan diet which is why they should opt for other non-meat options that have B12 such as breakfast cereals. Doctors do note that supplements such as multivitamins are helpful overall for vitamin deficiencies, especially for fussy eaters, but should not be a replacement for a balanced diet. Maybe try a good protein shake?