Things That Matter

This Boy Ate A Ton Of French Fries And Pringle’s And Now Doctors Blame His Poor Diet For His Blindness

A British teenager is the first believed to have gone blind solely due to a poor diet of junk food. This has to be one of every young person’s worst nightmares. How many of us were raised to believe that it’s in those formative teen years we are able to indulge in all the bad foods we want before our slower metabolism kicks in with age? 

Before we did that bizarre experiment in tenth grade, where you put a penny in Coca-Cola and it dissolves due to the acids, I singularly lived off of soda. I did not drink water. My Dominican abuela would put a teaspoon of sugar in my brother and I’s Sunny Delight orange juice. I am not saying this is right (it’s definitely not the best way to live), I am just saying it is not uncommon for young people to make the worst possible food choices when left to their own devices. And of course, junk and fast food companies aren’t so innocent. 

The combination of aggressive marketing along with food scientists who make artificial flavors taste better than real food and more addictive, has had damaging effects on public health. So while it might be your first instinct to roast this boy, let’s consider all the social factors that made his blindness possible in the first place.

How can junk food make you go blind? 

Scientists from the University of Bristol examined the case of a young boy who slowly lost his hearing and vision over the course of four years. The boy who was a picky eater since elementary school, only ate Pringles potato chips, white bread, processed ham and sausage, and avoided many nutritious foods.

He first saw a doctor at 14, complaining of tiredness. He was not on medication and had a normal BMI. Tests revealed he had low vitamin B12 levels and anemia. After treating him with B12 injections, a year later, he showed signs of hearing loss and vision. Doctors were baffled. By the time he was 17, he became legally blind. Doctors detected low vitamin B12, low copper, selenium, vitamin D and bone level density, along with high levels of zinc.

Essentially, he was malnourished. 

Developing countries face similar health hurdles.

Researchers from the Bristol Medical School and Bristol Eye Hospital determined he had nutritional optic neuropathy. For the patient, the blindness was permanent, although it is reversible if detected early. Typically, a case like this in the developed world would be the result of bowel problems or medication that obstructs the absorption of nutrients. 

However, poor diet was the cause for the 17-year-old. Nutritional optic neuropathy is typically found in patients from developing nations with poverty, famine, drought, and war. 

A cautionary tale. 

“Our vision has such an impact on quality of life, education, employment, social interactions, and mental health,” said study lead author Denize Atan, an ophthalmologist at Bristol Medical School and Bristol Eye Hospital. “This case highlights the impact of diet on visual and physical health, and the fact that calorie intake and BMI are not reliable indicators of nutritional status.”

Researchers believe this is an extreme case but caution against a junk food diet. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat the Popeye’s Fried Chicken sandwich, it just means it can’t be the only thing you eat over the course of a decade.

“Although it is an extreme example, it highlights the importance of having a wide and varied diet to ensure that you get the profile of nutrients and micronutrients that are needed for healthy development,” Gary Frost, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at Imperial College London, told CNN.

Because this teenager is anonymous lots of questions remain. Why didn’t the parents intervene sooner? Will they be held accountable? Why weren’t doctors able to address the seriousness of the child’s diet sooner? 

We should hold food companies more accountable.  

Food scientists intentionally make foods unnaturally delicious and addictive because their goal isn’t to make people healthy, it’s to sell more food products.

“Humans have an inherited preference for energy-rich foods — like fats and sugars — and thus natural selection has predisposed us to foods high in sugar and fat,” Jennifer Kaplan, a teacher at the Culinary Institute of America, told Salon. “Food scientists know this and create ingredients that are far higher in fat and sugar than occur in nature. The most common such sugar is high-fructose corn syrup and is therefore intrinsically addictive.” 

study in 2013, showed that high fructose corn syrup, the artificial sweetener used in most prepackaged foods, is as addictive as heroin and cocaine because of the way it releases dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone that tells your brain it is being rewarded.

When society ain’t looking out for you and the adults in your life ain’t looking out for you, well it is hard to stand a chance. Let’s hope this patient’s cautionary tale helps someone make more thoughtful food choices.

Covid-19 Cases Surge In Meat-Processing Plants As COVID-19 Spreads In Rural America

Things That Matter

Covid-19 Cases Surge In Meat-Processing Plants As COVID-19 Spreads In Rural America

David Ryder / Getty Images

Meat processing plants have been at the center of the COVID-19 response conversation. The plants, many located in the Midwest, are crucial to the food supply chain to feed the country but outbreaks at these facilities have threatened that supply chain. Some closed to save the health of their employees but an executive order, with limited power, allowed for these plants to stay open.

The meat-processing industry is surprisingly small with 4 plants providing 80 percent of the meat in the U.S.

Workers at meat-processing plants have been testing positive for COVID-19 in April. The spread was quick and some plants began to shut down in late April and early May to avoid massive outbreaks in their plants. In early May, several plants closed to handle the outbreaks, including Tyson Foods, one of the largest pork-processing companies in the U.S.

New data shows that coronavirus cases are increasing in the U.S. meat processing plants. The numbers have tripled to 15,000 with 63 meat plant workers dying from the virus. Within a month, Tyson Foods, the country’s largest meat processing company, saw its number of coronavirus cases jump from 1,600 to 7,000.

The number of cases has spiked within meat-processing plants that have reopened.

In late April, President Trump signed an executive order that some people misinterpreted as ordering meatpacking and processing plants to remain open. What President Trump did was to order that meat and poultry plants are essential according to the Defense Protection Act of 1950. The DPA is used to compel manufactures to create “scarce and critical material essential to the national defense.”

The second thing the order did was to give the authority to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Perdue is responsible for keeping the meat processing and packing plants running during the pandemic. He has to adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

As with some states, there are discrepancies showing in the data being released by the meat plants.

In North Carolina, the Smithfield meat-packing plant in Tar Heel is being elusive with their number of positive coronavirus cases. They are being assisted in the lack of transparency by state and local officials, according to The New York Times.

“There has been a stigma associated with the virus,” Teresa Duncan, the director of the health department in Bladen County, where the Smithfield plant is located, told The New York Times. “So we’re trying to protect privacy.”

A poultry plant in Arkansas was the cause of an outbreak in a Latino community.

In Arkansas, a community saw a spike in cases within the Latino community. The cases were coming from employees, their families, and their social circles. The one poultry plant resulted in 151 new cases in the Latino community of Dardanelle, Arkansas.

READ: Another Man Has Died Of Covid-19 In ICE Custody And The Agency Still Lacks Any Plan To Prevent More Deaths

Chrissy Teigen Gets Tested For Covid As Pre-Surgery Protocol

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Chrissy Teigen Gets Tested For Covid As Pre-Surgery Protocol

@chrissyteigen / Twitter / chrissyteigen / Instagram

Chrissy Teigen is known for her social media presence. The model is one of the most famous social media users because of her unfiltered voice. Teigen is honest about her life and outspoken when she sees wrongs online. One of Teigen’s latest posts on Instagram is another example of Teigen’s willingness to share all parts of her life.

Chrissy Teigen is getting ready for surgery and people just had to know why.

Teigen shared herself getting a Covid-19 test recently in preparation for surgery and people on social media began to ask questions. Of course, everyone would want to know what surgery she was having. Maybe people were concerned about her health. Maybe they just wanted to be nosey. Well, now we know what is happening.

Turns out that Teigen is getting her breast implants removed to start a new journey in her life.

The model stated on Instagram that she is simply done with having her implants and wants them removed. It is a trend we have seen with several celebrities, including “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge Michelle Visage. Visage had her implants removed because of her Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid glands.

Some people saw Teigen’s original tweet and allegedly got upset that she was being tested for Covid-19.

Teigen lives in Los Angeles. Los Angeles was the first major city in the U.S. to expand free Covid-19 testing to all residents as a result of a county order expanding free testing to all residents of the county. There are steps to get the testing but all residents are allowed to receive free testing.

According to the LA County Covid-19 website, all people who want a test should contact their healthcare providers first to see if they are able to get the test there. If it is not possible to be tested there or you cannot make contact, you can register for an appointment for free Covid-19 testing through the city and county.

Patients who are undergoing elective surgeries are one group being tested before the procedure. Residents who are symptomatic, over 65, have chronic medical conditions, or are essential workers are prioritized for the Covid-19 tested provided by the county and city governments. Essential workers include janitorial, security, airport, government, health care, food and grocery, and more.

The Twitter user deleted the tweet and responded in the thread.

Looks like Teigen was able to get through to someone on social media. Covid-19 testing is a hot button issue with the federal government leaving testing up to the states. The lack of a federal plan means that states are handling their own testing and data. According to a report by Vox, only three states meet the threshold for a safe reopening. Those states are Alaska, Kentucky, and New York.

Women are celebrating Teigen’s honesty and transparency about her surgery.

Credit: chrissyteigen / Instagram

Teigen is known for being unfiltered and giving her followers what they want. She does not hold back and he has let people into some intimate moments in her life. The news of getting her breast implants removed is just another chapter in her open book life.

READ: Rebellious Women On Twitter Are Gearing Up To Be #FilthyMouthedWives Thanks To Donald Trump’s Latest Attack