Teen Guides to Health & Wellness Anxiety, Depression, and Mood Disorders Diets, Cleanses, and Fitness Drugs and Alcohol School and Your Health Sexuality and Gender Identity Sleep and Hygiene Smoking and Vaping Social Media and the Internet Suicide and Self-Harm Tattoos, Piercings, and Body Modifications

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness

H. W. Poole

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CONTENTS Introduction. ...................................................................6 Chapter 1: The Basics of Food and Nutrition....................9 Chapter 2: Types of Diets............................................... 27 Chapter 3: Cleanses and Fasts. ...................................... 47 Chapter 4: Fitness and Exercise..................................... 61 Chapter 5: What Do I Do Now?. ...................................... 71 Appendix: Essential Vitamins and Minerals. ...................86 Further Reading and Online Resources...........................90 Series Glossary of Key Terms.......................................... 92 Index. ............................................................................94 About the Author / Credits..............................................96 K E Y I C O N S T O L O O K F O R : Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more! Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.

For most of us, diet is right up there with dentist and pop quiz as one of our least favorite words. That’s because the word diet is what you hear every time someone opts not to eat something delicious— I can’t, I’m on a diet . But the bad reputation of diet isn’t really fair. The word simply refers to the sum total of what a person eats and drinks. Could be bad, could be good, could be somewhere in between. A diet is simply what you consume. Lots of people pay attention to their diets for reasons that have nothing to do with denying themselves delicious treats. People who practice certain religions might make specific dietary choices because their faith requires them to do so. Vegetarians and vegans may avoid eating animal products for ethical reasons, or because they’re concerned about climate change. There are lots of reasons to think carefully about the components of your diet. Rather than the word diet, it’s really dieting that deserves our ire, and understandably so. People who aren’t satisfied with the size or shape of their bodies sometimes spend years—even a lifetime—following diets that try to limit their consumption of calories, or fats, or carbohydrates. Some folks find great success with these “restrictive” diets, but for others, an initial burst of weight loss is followed by stagnation, frustration, and ultimately regaining much if not all the weight that was lost.


This book will introduce you to the basics of nutrition, and help you make smarter choices about what you eat—not just for the short term, but for your whole life. We’ll look at a variety of types of diets—some with weight loss as the focus, and some not—and explain how these diets do or don’t achieve their promised goals. Cleanses and fasts are very trendy these days, but do they actually work? And last but not least, we’ll look at the role exercise plays in building a healthier you.

Sometimes people worry about choosing the "right" type of exercise, but ultimately any exercise you like to do is better than doing no exercise.


Eating a “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables will provide the vitamins and minerals you need.


cholesterol: a fatty substance in blood compound: a combination milling: the process of grinding grain into flour replenish: replace

synthesize: to make a number of things into one new one tendons: flexible tissue that connects muscles to bones


Everybody has heard the lectures about how we all need to “eat better.” But what does that mean? Before we can get into complicated stuff like weight management or particular types of diets, we need to look at how nutrition works at the most basic level. So let’s look at some key questions and answers about the components of a healthy diet. What Are Macronutrients and Micronutrients? Things we eat and drink contain nutrients , which are substances we need to live and grow. They’re divided into two broad categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. You probably know that macro refers to bigger things and micro to smaller ones, but it’s important to understand that in the context of nutrition, macro and micro don’t refer to nutrient size or importance. Instead, the names refer to the amounts that your body needs. The three main The Basics of Food and Nutrition


macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and your body needs large amounts of them. Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients; they are still extremely important to your health, but you only need to consume them in small amounts. There are 13 vitamins and 16 minerals that are considered essential to health, and the majority are absorbed by the intestine as we digest our food.

Food sources and functions of the 13 basic vitamins.

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: Diets, Cleanses, and Fitness




• biotin • folate/folic acid • niacin • pantothenic acid • riboflavin • thiamin • vitamin A

• vitamin B 6 • vitamin B 12 • vitamin C • vitamin D • vitamin E • vitamin K


• boron • calcium • chloride • chromium • copper • iodine • iron • magnesium • nickel

• phosphorus • potassium • selenium • silicon • sodium • sulfur • vanadium • zinc

Three vitamins—D, B 3 , and K 2 —can be synthesized by the body without food: the body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, B 3 is made by the liver, and K 2 is made by the intestines when you eat whole grains and leafy green vegetables. Everything else comes from your diet. Micronutrients are vital for a whole range of bodily functions, from boosting the immune system to

The Basics of Food and Nutrition


producing red blood cells and preventing birth defects. See the appendix for a list created by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that explains how much of each vitamin and mineral you need, and how much of it you need per day. Why Do I Need Protein? You’ve probably heard that people are mainly made of water—around 60 percent of the human body is water. After water, the next most plentiful component of the human body is protein. Proteins come in a lot of different forms, and they perform a huge variety of jobs within the body. Some are hormones that carry messages between cells, others are antibodies that fight illness. Some proteins store other nutrients for later use, while others make our skin stretchy and our tendons strong. Another type, called transport proteins , move substances around the body, including oxygen, fat cells, and even medications. Clearly, proteins are extremely important, but where do they come from? Protein is made up of amino acids, which are organic compounds of elements such as carbon and oxygen. There are 20 amino acids that the body uses in various combinations. Of these, 11 are called “nonessential,” which is a misleading term, because you do actually need them quite a lot! But these acids can be created by the human body—that is, they are nonessential in terms of your diet. The remaining 9 proteins are called “essential” because the human body can’t create them . . . and that’s where your diet comes in. The 9 essential amino acids need to be digested from food. The easiest way to get the protein you need is from sources such as beef, poultry, pork, and fish. The reason

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: Diets, Cleanses, and Fitness


Protein is a “macronutrient,” which means that the body needs relatively large amounts of it.

we say animal-based proteins are “easy” is because they contain what’s known as “complete protein”: a collection of all the necessary amino acids. Plant-based proteins, on the other hand, are called “incomplete” because they don’t have all nine. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t good or worth eating! It is entirely possible to get all your amino acids from plant-based sources. You just have to pay attention to what’s called protein complementation , which is the process of consuming several foods that, together, make up a complete protein. Rice and beans is a classic example of protein complementation, and peanut butter on whole wheat bread is another. Separately, the individual parts are incomplete, but together they make complete proteins. (See the vegetarian/vegan section in chapter 2 for more on this topic.)

The Basics of Food and Nutrition


Is Fat Bad? Fat can be a really confusing subject. That’s partly because the word fat itself can be used as an insult, which leaves us associating the word with something bad. But fat isn’t inherently bad—in fact, the fats that we take in from food play a large number of vital roles in the body. You actually need a certain amount of it to survive. Fat is how humans

“Bad” fats (saturated fats and trans fats) can raise cholesterol levels, and lead to clogged arteries. “Good” fats (unsaturated fats) should be where most of the fat comes from in a balanced diet.

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: Diets, Cleanses, and Fitness


store energy, for one thing. Fats are also used to break down certain vitamins and transport them around the body. And they are also a key part of what makes food taste good in the first place. So, is fat bad for you or is it good? Should you be eating less fat? Or more? The answer to all these questions is yes—but it all depends which type of fat you’re talking about, and how much of it you are eating. Unsaturated fats are the good fats, and they come in two types: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The very healthiest are monounsaturated; sources include olive and canola oils, avocados, and nuts. They provide nutrients your body needs while helping to lower cholesterol levels. The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is famous for its high levels of unsaturated fat. (See chapter 2 for more on this topic.) Usually, when people talk about how bad fat is, they’re talking about the saturated fat that you find in red meat and dairy products. Saturated fats are usually solid unless they are heated. Butter is a saturated fat, for example. Cheese also tends to be high in saturated fat. Saturated fats have a bad reputation because they can have a very negative impact on heart health. This is why you’ll hear people talk about “lean meat” being a part of a healthy diet—meat can be a good source of protein, but it can sometimes be high in saturated fat; the word lean refers to meat that is (somewhat) lower in the unhealthy type of fat. It’s worth noting that not all saturated fats are created equal—the saturated fat in dairy products does not (according to recent research) appear to be as bad for you as, say, the saturated fat in bacon. Still, the American Heart Association recommends limiting how much saturated fat you consume and replacing saturated fats with unsaturated ones whenever possible.

The Basics of Food and Nutrition


The absolute worst fats froma health perspective are artificial trans fats. Trans fats are a type of saturated fat, and some trans fats occur naturally in food. But the real troublemakers are artificial—they’remade in laboratories through a process called hydrogenation , in which hydrogen is added to vegetable fat. Trans fats were first sold back in 1911 by the company that makes Crisco, and they came to be staple ingredients in packaged baked goods and inmost fast foods.

“You DON’T need to demonize certain food groups, or restrict your overall food intake, or treat food as the be-all-end-all of health. In fact, putting too much emphasis on our day-to-day food choices doesn’t lead to improved health at all, but to a preoccupation with food and panic about our health.” —Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: Diets, Cleanses, and Fitness


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