Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Live Thin Die Young

In the world of fashion, the toothpick figure is the new hourglass – yet the effects of not eating properly can have fatal consequences. Jasmin Andrade reveals the truth.

We all enjoy the frolics and frills of exquisite restaurants - they act as a fabulous excuse to flaunt our beautifully crafted LBDs, teamed with towering Louboutin heels. Modern days do, evidently, call for modern ways - and what was once a place to indulge in the finest and richest foods has evolved. Top city haunts are now exclusively there for the purpose of fulfilling our burning desire to see our favourite fellow bourgeois - and most importantly, to be seen ourselves.

However, many of us have turned a blind eye to the detrimental effects that wrong attitudes towards food have on our bodies, as well as our mental wellbeing.
Alex Shabo, who is currently battling with anorexia, explains that:
‘Women’s bodies have become material objects, and both men and women have begun to treat them as such. Self-awareness can be lost beneath overwhelming, restrictive societal values and attitudes – which can lead to a distorted image of body, loss of self, and eating disorders’1

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s data, there are 11 million undernourished people in the world living in developed countries2. Experts believe that there are 3 million people suffering from malnutrition among us in the UK3. Now is the time to act.

Whilst living a fashion-led lifestyle is inspiring, extravagant and exciting, consider the darker side. Beautiful models, including Luisel Ramos, have died from malnutrition. Despite this, fashion Gods and Goddess’ such as Vivienne Westwood – who is due to celebrate her 70th birthday this coming April – are living fashion to its maximum potential. Now it’s our turn to follow her marvellous example.

Make up is a divine pleasure, an art - and with different techniques, never fails to complete each season’s look. Nevertheless, we must now strip away the array of elegant make-up from our faces, and consider whether our fashion towards food faces up to our bodily requirements. We must ensure that we maintain our natural, healthy beauty – even until that dreaded day when the dearest make-up no longer perfects our flaws.

Heroin chic may be an iconic look, but in reality, pale and unhealthy skin tone shows that you’re eating unhealthily. Other signs include fatigue, lethargy, memory and thought problems, depression, mood swings, weight fluctuations and loss of appetite4.

Although overeating and obesity are recognised problems, the effects of under eating and malnutrition don’t receive the attention they deserve. If a happy, healthy life is what you desire, start recognising Guideline Daily Allowances (GDAs) as not merely a limitation. Stick to GDAs properly.

The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU (aka, the CIAA) state that there are five key nutrients that our bodies need. These are; calories, sugars, carbohydrates, and yes, the dreaded fats and saturates that are so wrongly misunderstood as fashion suicide. Together, we must start eating properly.

Contrary to popular opinion, calories aren’t unnecessary, cursed fiends. They are, in fact, essential to allowing your daily activities and fashion-following festivities to take place. Consume an average of 2000 calories per day for women and 2500 for men, to keep your energy levels high. Insufficient consumption of calories can put you in a bad mood and cause exhaustion. For that, there is simply no need.

Fats, on the other hand, are like the vintage Chanel handbag that your mother had kept since you were a child. For years, you thought it was an utterly hideous item of apparel - never dreaming that it would end up an essential item of your wardrobe. Condemned for far too long, the vital role fat plays in your body has simply been forgotten. Start appreciating fat again - in the same way that you can appreciate the beauty of out-dated fashion.

Nutritionist Donna Watmough says that consuming a moderate amount of fat is vital to the maintenance of your body, and to the absorption and use of fat soluble vitamins. Additionally, it waterproofs and insulates the body, builds membranes to our cells, and is the major constituent of many hormones5.

Some fats also benefit your body by actively lowering cholesterol in your blood – therefore reducing your risk of acquiring heart disease – joy! Delight in monounsaturated fats, found in foods such as olive oil, seeds, avocados and nuts; as well as polyunsaturated fats, found in walnuts and delicious fish, such as salmon and mackerel. Devouring fish could also reduce your risk of bowel cancer6.

What pleasure to be able to enjoy fat guilt-free, wouldn’t you agree? Especially when knowing that insufficient consumption of fat decreases your metabolic rate - causing faster release of sugars into your blood and reducing the production of hormones7.

In the past, carbohydrates have been avoided by models such as Adriana Lima. However, nutritionist Donna Watmough explains that: ‘Like all food, carbohydrate can make you fat if you eat too much of it! However, [...] our central nervous system, brain, liver, kidneys and muscles (including the heart) cannot function without glucose - and glucose is only found in carbohydrates.
‘People who do not eat enough carbohydrate (for example, people following the Atkins Diet) can suffer hallucinations, liver and kidney damage, and other health consequences’8.

To get the best out of carbohydrates, swap ‘white’ varieties for whole-grain; this can lower your risk of heart disease by 33%9. Whole-grains can also reduce the risk of bowel cancer by at least 25%, due to their fibre-rich qualities. 10

Fruit and vegetables are the cuisine of choice for many beautiful women worldwide – as we are all too aware. Indeed, the benefits are plenty. Eating five portions a day can reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease by 30% lower cholesterol, and enhance your immune system11. It could also reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.12

However, do not rely on fruit and vegetables as your only nutritional source. Endlessly consuming water based foods will not give you enough of the nutrients that your body needs. This will prevent essential processes in your body from taking place, and leave you with limited energy. A healthy, balanced diet is vital.

Whilst you may have already mastered this season’s key looks, mastering healthy eating will complete you. By properly nourishing your body, you will nurture your mind - allowing your inner, as well as outer beauty to flourish for longer.


References:1 drrobyn, 2008).

2(David A. Bender, 2007)

3(BBC, 2009).

4 (Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, 2009)
5(Watmough, D. 2008)
6(Cancerresearchuk, 2011).
7(Chris Strogilis, 2010)
8(Watmough, W. 2008
9(thehealthyeatingguide, 2011).
10(cancerresearchuk, 2011).
11 (thehealthyeatingguide, 2011
12(CDC, 2011).
DRROBYN. (2008). Eating Disorders Revealed: Interview with High Schoolers Who Used Their Challenges to Inspire Others. Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
A. Bender, David (2007). Introduction to Nutrition and Metabolism. 4th ed. USA and Canada: CRS Press. p230.
Anon. (2009). Malnutrition affecting '3m in UK'. Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
Anon. (2011). Malnutrition affecting '3m in UK'. Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
Pawlik-Kienlen, Laurie. (2009). 6 Signs You’re Not Eating Right for Your Body Type. Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
Donna Watmough. (2008). Why Do We Need Fat and How Much Should We Eat? Read more at Suite101: Why Do We Need Fat and How Much Should We Eat?: The Role of Lipids, HDL and LDL and Ways to Lower Cholesterol Levels . Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
Anon. (2011). Diet and cancer - different foods and nutrients. Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
Chris Strogilis. (2010). The Importance Of Fats For Our Nutrition.Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
Donna Watmough. (2008). Do Carbohydrates Make You Fat? Can Eating Carbs Lead to Weight-gain?. Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
Anon. (2011). Healthy Eating Statistics - America's Obesity Crisis. Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
Anon. (2011). Fruits and Vegetables. Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.
Anon. (2011). Rationale for the proposed CIAA GDA reference values. Available: Last accessed 1st March 2011.

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