4 Nutrition Mistakes in Adolescents

Adolescents make a series of nutrition mistakes that can affect their future health. Discover these 4 nutrition errors in adolescents.
4 Nutrition Mistakes in Adolescents

Last update: 20 July, 2022

Adolescents often make a series of nutrition mistakes that can have a negative impact on their future health. It’s important to be aware of them in order to avoid them and promote good habits from the earliest stages of life. We’re talking about a time of great development, so it will be crucial to ensure an optimal supply of quality nutrients.

Before we begin, we must point out that today’s eating routines are heavily influenced by exposure to the media and the power of industry. There’s a lot of misinformation on the subject, which leads to myths that can play a dirty trick on us. Consulting with a nutrition professional can help optimize their diet.

Nutrition mistakes teens make

Let’s discuss the top teen nutrition mistakes. Many of them may be carried over from childhood, so it will be necessary to promote proper education during the early stages of life.

1. Not drinking water

Adolescents tend to drink little water and abuse soft drinks. These products concentrate a very high amount of simple sugars inside. Their regular intake is capable of causing metabolic damage over the years and increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is evidenced by research published in the journal Current Diabetes Reports.

The issue becomes even more worrying when we talk about alcohol consumption, which is also common among adolescents. This substance is considered toxic, regardless of the dose consumed, as it affects brain development and increases the incidence of neurodegenerative diseases. Likewise, it manages to alter the hormonal balance in the internal environment. Drinks containing alcohol are considered very harmful and are best avoided.

A teen drinking a soft drink.
Soft drinks and carbonated beverages aren’t good for hydration, as they contain a high amount of sugar and other potentially harmful additives.

2. Abuse of ultra-processed foods

Both for breakfast and snacks, adolescents often consume industrial ultra-processed foods. These products contain trans fats and low-quality artificial additives. These lipids are capable of increasing inflammatory levels in the internal environment and thus increasing the predisposition to the development of chronic diseases. A study published in the BMJ confirms this.

Instead of these foodstuffs, it’s better to ensure foods with high nutritional density at breakfast and snacks. Examples could be dairy products, nuts, legume creams, or vegetables, among others. There are several easy-to-prepare alternatives that provide complex carbohydrates and quality proteins.

3. Eating little fish

Children and adolescents often don’t like to eat fish very much, mainly because of the bones. But they have to get used to including this food in their diet, as it offers several benefits for health. On the one hand, it contains proteins of the highest quality. Also, it concentrates lipids of the omega 3 series, elements that are decisive when it comes to avoiding a lack of control at an inflammatory level.

A good alternative is to start with fish with a lower percentage of bones, such as salmon or tuna. Gradually, the spectrum can be increased. In the same way, it’s advisable to vary the cooking methods you use. Canned foods shouldn’t be abused, as they could provide too high quantities of heavy metals that accumulate inside the body.

4. Consuming few vegetables

Finally, it’s important to point out that adolescents tend to eat few vegetables. Nutrition experts recommend consuming between 3 and 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day to maintain good health. These provide antioxidant elements that will keep inflammation under control and help prevent the genesis of complex problems.

A teenage girl eating a salad.
Healthy, complete, and balanced nutrition is a good strategy to preserve health. That’s why the diet of adolescents should include vegetables in large quantities.

Beware of nutrition mistakes in adolescents

Now you know what the main nutrition mistakes in adolescents are. It’s important to promote good food education during childhood to avoid deficiencies in the future conditioned by a poorly planned diet. In addition, if diverse foods are offered from the early stages of life, the risk of later rejection will be lower.

Finally, it should be noted that it’s not only food that matters when we talk about health. It’s also important to focus on other habits, such as physical exercise. Strength training should be done on a regular basis to ensure that muscle mass is in a functional state.

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  • Yoshida, Y., & Simoes, E. J. (2018). Sugar-Sweetened Beverage, Obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents: Policies, Taxation, and Programs. Current diabetes reports18(6), 31. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-018-1004-6
  • de Souza, R. J., Mente, A., Maroleanu, A., Cozma, A. I., Ha, V., Kishibe, T., Uleryk, E., Budylowski, P., Schünemann, H., Beyene, J., & Anand, S. S. (2015). Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)351, h3978. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3978