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Does a diet high in ultra-processed foods cause deafness/blindness?

estherdragonbat
estherdragonbat Posts: 5,285 Member
...Or is it more that the victim in question appears to have eaten no fruits or veg whatsoever in years?

https://www.vibe.com/2019/09/bristol-teen-blind-deaf-processed-foods


He only ate French fries, potato chips, processed ham, sausages, and white bread.
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Replies

  • estherdragonbat
    estherdragonbat Posts: 5,285 Member
    I figured. When I saw the story, I started checking for other places reporting it and most of them are putting the blame on what he WAS eating, rather than what he wasn't.
  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,841 Member
    My guess is vitamin a deficiency from lack of fruits or vegetables caused the blindness. He’s lucky he didn’t go insane and get scabs all over from Pellagra or lose his teeth from scurvy. Considering his diet he came off pretty well! As @MikePTY said, most ultra processed foods have more nutrition than the extremely limited diet he was eating. More a cautionary tale about picky eaters and the parents who indulge them than modern diets.
  • AlabasterVerve
    AlabasterVerve Posts: 3,171 Member
    Some details.
    Blindness Caused by a Junk Food Diet - fussy eating 14 yr old, B12 deficient

    By age 17, the patient's vision had become progressively worse, to the point of blindness. The physicians investigated the patient's nutrition and found vitamin B12 deficiency, low copper and selenium levels, a high zinc level, and markedly reduced vitamin D level and bone mineral density. The patient confessed that since elementary school, he had avoided foods with certain textures and only ate French fries, Pringles, white bread, processed ham slices, and sausage.

    Media | Article | Via

  • The_Enginerd
    The_Enginerd Posts: 3,973 Member
    edited September 2019
    I have seen other stories on equally picky eaters who did not suffer the same extreme consequences, which makes me wonder just how much causation exists between his nutritional deficiencies due to his very restricted diet and his deafness and blindness.
  • SuzySunshine99
    SuzySunshine99 Posts: 2,731 Member
    I have seen other stories on equally picky eaters who did not suffer the same extreme consequences, which makes me wonder just how much causation exists between his nutritional deficiencies due to his very restricted diet and his deafness and blindness.

    And even if his diet WAS the cause, I think there are enough very picky eaters out there to conclude that this is an extremely rare reaction to a lack of nutrients.
  • puffbrat
    puffbrat Posts: 2,806 Member
    I have seen other stories on equally picky eaters who did not suffer the same extreme consequences, which makes me wonder just how much causation exists between his nutritional deficiencies due to his very restricted diet and his deafness and blindness.

    And even if his diet WAS the cause, I think there are enough very picky eaters out there to conclude that this is an extremely rare reaction to a lack of nutrients.

    Or a really extreme case of lack of nutrients even for a picky eater. One article I read yesterday said that he had an underlying condition that basically makes him an extremely picky eater who rejects most flavors and textures leading to his very sad and bland diet.
  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,841 Member
    edited September 2019
    kimny72 wrote: »
    I don't mean to sound judgey, but if this story is legit, it's unfortunate that his mother assumed that as long as he wasn't gaining weight, whatever he was eating was fine. I don't have any "underlying conditions" and if I had been left to my own devices when I was a kid, I would've eaten a nutritionally awful diet and not gained weight.

    And I have so many questions. Did he not eat any of his meals at home in front of her since he was 9? What specific deficiency led to the optic condition, and which "caused" deafness? Did he not see a pediatrician for that 10 years? Was his growth rate reasonable, it just eventually affected his ears and eyes?

    He actually saw a bunch of doctors who looked at the eye condition in particular and found nothing. I know vitamin A deficiencies can cause similar issues in animals, so I’m assuming that, but there’s no other information given.

    Eating NOTHING but white bread and sausage absolutely will cause serious issues over time. Other “picky eaters” I’ve seen featured in articles had concerned parents who tried to get them to eat nutritious foods, and presumably offered supplements, while this young man’s mother was aware of his diet but unconcerned as long as he wasn’t fat.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    I was just sitting here trying to think of how easy it might have been to make bread and sausage at home that was laced with more nutrition.

    I also wonder how in the world it could have escalated to that point without someone raising the alarm enough for it to be avoided.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,601 Member
    i remember watching a TV show and there was a picky eater child as a character who developed survy because of lack of vitamin c - so its not unheard of but how the mom let it get that far...
  • AlabasterVerve
    AlabasterVerve Posts: 3,171 Member
    Follow up article on this on Science Based Medicine. B-12 deficiency is what caused the blindness but they take exception to the "fussy-eating" and "blinded by junk food" descriptions. Goes into explaining Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.
    A thorough work-up involving laboratory and genetic testing, neuroimaging, and intestinal biopsies was completed, and the cause was narrowed down to multiple severe nutritional deficiencies. In particular, vitamin B12 deficiency was again found and believed to be the primary cause of the patient’s visual loss.
    ...
    How did this kid slip the cracks so egregiously? Why was he not admitted to a hospital for inpatient management when he presented with blatant ARFID and associated hearing and vision loss two years prior to the involvement of the case report authors?

    I think the author goes off the rails when he theorizes demonizing junk food causes eating disorders, spouts orthorexia nonsense and takes exception to articles pointing out the risks inherent with vegan diets and B-12 deficiency but agree wholeheartedly that this kid should not have fell through the cracks.

    Article
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    I wonder if he had been admitted for treatment 2 years earlier if it would have made a difference. I even wonder if the kid is out of danger now from further complications. I believe the human body is very resilient normally but when it is made to be fragile it is not an easy road back. Over 10 years his body has adapted to this nutritional deficiency the best way it could that adaptation may not simply stop because he is being treated.
  • Tacklewasher
    Tacklewasher Posts: 7,122 Member
    Then there is this guy who has surpassed 30,000 Big Macs and has decent health markers.

    https://kncifm.com/don-gorske-big-mac-diet-record/
  • SuzySunshine99
    SuzySunshine99 Posts: 2,731 Member
    Clearly the blindness was genetic if his mother didn't see the issue.

    *drops mic
    *ends thread
    :D