Teen Becomes Blind From Long Term Junk Food Diet

Bad Bungle

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#31
.. "The patient confessed that, since elementary school, he would not eat certain textures of food" ... He told doctors that the only things he ate were fries, chips — specifically, Pringles — white bread, processed ham slices and sausage.
Ah, he was American - that explains why the Metro helpfully showed its readers a plate of sausage and chips but not a tube of Pringles.
 

Shady

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#32
Does he have autism, because textures play a part in their lives as well
 

Yithian

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#33
Ah, he was American - that explains why the Metro helpfully showed its readers a plate of sausage and chips but not a tube of Pringles.
He hasn't been identified.

It's conceivable that he could be a Yank, but this report says he was being treated in Bristol, UK.

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-49551337

I think the editor of the Livelink article changed UK chips to U.S. fries.

Of course, chips and fries are two different things to any sane Brit--and neither of those two things are crisps.
 

Bad Bungle

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#34
It's not just poor diet that can cause problems. I know my vegan friend - who is very intelligent and does her research - found that one of the B vitamins is missing from an all plant diet . She gets it from Marmite so it may well be B12.
I was taught there was widespread Pellagra (lack of B3) and pernicious anemia (lack of B12) in the southern 'Corn Belt' of the US in the 1930's because the locals were exclusively eating cornbread (corn being sweetcorn or maize) and no wheat bread. Guess from the state of the kid that even eating white bread doesn't give you all the vitamins you need. Just wish yeast didn't taste so nasty.
 

INT21

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#35
I can just imagine the headlines in a South African news paper covering an epidemic of kids going blind due to food.

'Teenager goes blind due to too much jerky'.

INT21.
 

James_H

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#36
Crankyoldgit62 made a side reference to McDonalds. There's no mention of Mickey-D involvement with the malnourished teen.
While it's not the whole of my diet I do eat at least one MacDonald's meal everyday, being as it is in the sweet spot of the breakfast venn diagram of cheap, fast, and tasty. It's certainly not the leading course of any health difficulties I experience, and I'm still very skinny.

I seem to remember suggestions that Morgan spurlock in super size me wasn't being completely honest in his presentation of facts.
 

Mythopoeika

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#38
While it's not the whole of my diet I do eat at least one MacDonald's meal everyday, being as it is in the sweet spot of the breakfast venn diagram of cheap, fast, and tasty. It's certainly not the leading course of any health difficulties I experience, and I'm still very skinny.
You're also still fairly young.
 

Tribble

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#39
This unfortunate child was not blinded by junk food. He suffered from a recently recognized eating disorder known as Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, or ARFID. The concept of a pathologically restrictive diet isn’t new, of course. It’s more fair to say that the ARFID is a new label for the older “Selective Eating Disorder”, complete with a better description of the presentation, that was incorporated into the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013.
Patients with ARFID are not just picky eaters. They avoid or restrict themselves from certain foods because of severe anxiety related to eating them, or because of extreme emotional discomfort related to certain food textures. Many of these patients become physically unable to eat many foods because of gagging and vomiting that occurs when attempting to do so. Some experience an intense fear of choking to death when even thinking about eating certain foods.


https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/a-...but-not-because-of-junk-food-or-fussy-eating/
 

Yithian

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#40
This unfortunate child was not blinded by junk food. He suffered from a recently recognized eating disorder known as Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, or ARFID. The concept of a pathologically restrictive diet isn’t new, of course. It’s more fair to say that the ARFID is a new label for the older “Selective Eating Disorder”, complete with a better description of the presentation, that was incorporated into the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013.
Patients with ARFID are not just picky eaters. They avoid or restrict themselves from certain foods because of severe anxiety related to eating them, or because of extreme emotional discomfort related to certain food textures. Many of these patients become physically unable to eat many foods because of gagging and vomiting that occurs when attempting to do so. Some experience an intense fear of choking to death when even thinking about eating certain foods.


https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/a-...but-not-because-of-junk-food-or-fussy-eating/
Good read.

But the fact remains that neither parents nor doctors realised that his 'eating disorder' was leaving him with a dangerously restricted diet and chronically undernourished. If I had not seen my child eating any fruit or vegetables for a number of years--and he was in poor health--I'd seek medical advice with that point at the top of my list.

It's still neglect, but the reason that this neglect was so damaging has been refined. If his pathologically restricted died had been to a limited variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish (or whatever gives you the necessary), this would have been a non-issue.

Now why was he repulsed or frightened by the taste and textures of non-stodge? That's the pressing question.

'Disorders' don't just form out of nowhere.
 

EnolaGaia

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#41
This unfortunate child was not blinded by junk food. ...
At face value that's true - i.e., his blindness was not a direct result of the foods he ate. If anything, it was a direct result of the foods he didn't eat.

Debating the diagnostic minutiae of the eating disorder is somewhat beside the point, IMHO. Which DSM category applies to the boy is relevant only to diagnosticians focused on psychosocial pathology.

No matter how the disorder is characterized or categorized in the context of psychosocial issues, it doesn't change the essential fact he lost (most of) his eyesight to nutritional optic neuropathy. This is the crux of the matter for those diagnosticians focused on physiological pathology.
 

Tribble

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#42
'Disorders' don't just form out of nowhere.
Not a psych, but I'd guess there's various causes for such disorders. It could be physiological - a gluten intolerance that gives a kid intestinal pain would make the kid very reluctant to eat foods that they associate with the pain even if it doesn't actually contain gluten, maybe even put them off eating in general if every mealtime results in cramps. It could be psychological trauma - finding a worm in your apple, a caterpillar in your salad or mould/rot anywhere could put you off fruit and veg. It might be bad preparation, like a terrible school cook, putting you off what would otherwise be something really quite tasty.
 

Kondoru

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#43
Enola gaia is right; Not junk food (a lot of vit enhanced these days) but a restrictive diet.

His parents should have been more careful.

And what were their habits? Did he eat in his room, separate from the rest of the family? (As seems to be too common these days)

Family meals are important socialisers...Up to the table, maybe, but even TV dinners are ok.

Its hard to think of a normal kid putting up with bland stodge if everyone else is savouring nice things.

I didnt like my greens, as a child, as my mother was not a good cook and boiled them to death.

I only came to bangers and mash as an adult! Mum believed that mash came from a packet and sausages needed to be cheap as possible...
 

Yithian

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#44
Like many of us here, post-war rationing was still in force when my parents were very young, and even if it hadn't been, their parents had firmly implanted in them the idea that food absolutely could not be wasted once bought. It wasn't just profligate, it was a sin.

While my father was not as strict as my grandfather, my brother and I would simply not be allowed to leave the table until we had 'had a good go' at everything on the plate. And the compost heap was the standard repository for leftovers that weren't suited to the fridge.

I used to think I was living under some kind of despotic tyranny; today it seems eminently civilised. My wife, daughter and I are only able to eat dinner together on the weekend. Fortunately, my daughter is of the 'scoff it all and ask for seconds' type.
 

Yithian

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#45
Just to add by way of addendum, there's a maxim being repeated a lot in conservative circles lately. I don't know its origin. While it's almost certainly a gross oversimplification (and it's equally certainly being applied to ill-fitting cases), there could be a kernel of truth:

Hard times make strong men; strong men make good times; good times make weak men; weak men make hard times.

Now that I've cited it, somebody will probably do the digging I've failed to do and inform me that it's a Nazi slogan or something, but the notion that we are somehow trapped in a cyclical pattern and not really learning enough from our mistakes is, I confess, seductive.
 

EnolaGaia

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#47
Like many of us here, post-war rationing was still in force when my parents were very young, and even if it hadn't been, their parents had firmly implanted in them the idea that food absolutely could not be wasted once bought. It wasn't just profligate, it was a sin.
While my father was not as strict as my grandfather, my brother and I would simply not be allowed to leave the table until we had 'had a good go' at everything on the plate. And the compost heap was the standard repository for leftovers that weren't suited to the fridge.
I used to think I was living under some kind of despotic tyranny; today it seems eminently civilised. My wife, daughter and I are only able to eat dinner together on the weekend. Fortunately, my daughter is of the 'scoff it all and ask for seconds' type.
I grew up to adulthood (1950's / 1960's) under a similar regimen, but in our postwar American national and specific family / local sociocultural contexts the background wasn't quite the same.

Both sides of my family had been or started out as purely farm folk dating back only 1 generation on one side and 2 generations on the other side. Both sides had survived the depredations of the Great Depression. By the time of my childhood both sides still generated a lot of their foodstuffs from their own land and labor (though my parents' generation had shifted to blue and white collar jobs), and both sides were accustomed to meals incorporating a wide variety of vegetables and grains along with meat. Some dinners were vegetables only, with at least 4 different items.

In our household my brother and I were expected and required to accept what was put in front of us and clean our plates before being allowed to leave the table. On those occasions when he or I resisted, we were given one or both of two rationales for having to eat everything. The first, analogous to your experience, had to do with past hardship, thrift, lack of easy alternatives, and / or the occasional guilt trip of considering all the people who didn't have enough to eat. The second rationale - apparently derived from our parents' farm upbringings - was simply that the vegetables (etc.) were good for us nutritionally (whether we liked them or not), and we were going to accept them just as we had to swallow the even more odious medicines of the era.

Our extended family (living in 5 adjacent homes) grew a large garden every summer, and food waste from all 5 households was put into a substantial compost heap daily. Collecting and delivering any leftovers / scraps to the compost heap was the standard post-meal task alternative to washing and / or drying the dishes.

My elementary school was blessed with a creative cafeteria manager well-trained in nutrition and her staff of good down-home cooks (largely comprised of ladies from my family's church and my benignly imperious great aunt). There was no brown-bagging or other lunch alternatives. Every kid in the school received a solid 'square' meal of meat, at least 2 vegetables, a fresh salad or fruit item, and milk. Once everyone was served, we could go back for seconds for as long as the food lasted.

Looking back, I have to say we ate well, to our tummies' content, and probably "better" than many kids do today.

It was during this elementary school period that I first encountered (typically suburbanized) kids who wouldn't clean their plates as I dutifully did. I didn't think much of this strange behavior, because it garnered me additional helpings of my favorite vegetables.

By the time of my high school years I had a number of friends whose family and personal dietary habits weren't anywhere near as solid as my own. I didn't think much of the differences at the time and just accepted it on a "different strokes for different folks" basis.

Having been forcibly habituated to square meals thankfully accepted and completely consumed "or else" in early childhood, I had no problems eating decently all the way through my undergraduate college days.
 

MissViolet

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#48
I gently suggest that many posters aren't familiar with, or have experience of the kind of mental health condition that we're talking about. People in this situation are quite capable of starving themselves nearly to death rather than eat a food source that creates that kind of anxiety.

There's often no easily identifiable root cause, but it's sometimes associated with ASC. I grew up with this (undiagnosed until I was 40) and it's almost impossible to explain how little control I had over myself as a teenager, even by the standards of that age range. For example, my fear of eating near other people meant that my health was compromised, as I went for days with just coffee and purloined cigarettes to keep my brain going.

If someone had tried to force me to eat "normally" I doubt I'd be here now. It would have been too much to face.
 

stu neville

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#49
The reports on this particular case don't give many details of the young man's background or family / social environment.
No, but he's in the West of England, so statistically likely in one of of the urban areas, and we have supermarkets. If they can get Pringles and sausages, they can get fruit and veg. As he seems to be the only one in the family with these issues it points more to - being kind - a psychological issue on his part, or - being less kind - lack of parental control. Anyone who works in education will have seen adults completely ruled by their kids. By 14 there's no hope of restoring authority without serious intervention.
 

Yithian

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#50
I gently suggest that many posters aren't familiar with, or have experience of the kind of mental health condition that we're talking about. People in this situation are quite capable of starving themselves nearly to death rather than eat a food source that creates that kind of anxiety.

There's often no easily identifiable root cause, but it's sometimes associated with ASC. I grew up with this (undiagnosed until I was 40) and it's almost impossible to explain how little control I had over myself as a teenager, even by the standards of that age range. For example, my fear of eating near other people meant that my health was compromised, as I went for days with just coffee and purloined cigarettes to keep my brain going.

If someone had tried to force me to eat "normally" I doubt I'd be here now. It would have been too much to face.
Again, I take your point. I have zero familiarity with this kind of eating disorder, but I can extrapolate from the example of my have experienced individuals suffering with other mental disorders who did profoundly harmful things to themselves.

The point that I and Enola were making is that there clearly should have been intervention a long time (probably years) before blindness resulted.
 

Kondoru

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#52
Enolagaia, thats fine but at least your vegitables were not boiled until they were radioactive.

(Dad cooks great veg because his late wife preffered it gently steamed...My mother....)

When I was at college again (a few years back) we had a fantastic canteen (run by SERCO) which offered a good selection of all sorts including a salad bar and ethnic food.

But you saw a lot of young folk eating burgers and chips.

or just chips.

For the same price you could have had a curry, or beef stew served up in a huge yorkshire pudding.

I suspect this habit was learned at home.

Same as not eating brekfast. (A thing that continualy bothered my old Classics tutor...she was always asking if people had a good brekfast and tutting if they said no)
 

Krepostnoi

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#54
I gently suggest that many posters aren't familiar with, or have experience of the kind of mental health condition that we're talking about. People in this situation are quite capable of starving themselves nearly to death rather than eat a food source that creates that kind of anxiety.

There's often no easily identifiable root cause, but it's sometimes associated with ASC. I grew up with this (undiagnosed until I was 40) and it's almost impossible to explain how little control I had over myself as a teenager, even by the standards of that age range. For example, my fear of eating near other people meant that my health was compromised, as I went for days with just coffee and purloined cigarettes to keep my brain going.

If someone had tried to force me to eat "normally" I doubt I'd be here now. It would have been too much to face.
Thank you for the gentle suggestion, I think you are right on the money.

Both my daughter and I are autistic, although she was diagnosed at the age of six, whereas I was in my forties when I found out... Among other issues, we both have some sensory processing issues, and my daughter in particular simply could not abide certain textures against her skin.

So I can get that certain textures would be completely unbearable as food, as well. Those posters questioning parenting standards should really have a long, hard think about the effect on a child of what happens when the person who is supposed to support and nurture them actually forces them to do something they cannot tolerate. It's a failure of imagination and empathy.

I have more sympathy for the argument that help should have been forthcoming. And, again, I would ask whether any of the people raising that question have actually tried to ask for help with ASD issues for a child in the past few years. I don't know about other countries, but in Kirklees - a council in the UK - three or four years ago there was a two year waiting list for an initial meeting with an educational psychologist. And that was assuming you could persuade your GP to make the referral in the first place. So as well as supporting your child with whatever individual issues they are facing, you've also got to clash heads with an under-resourced system and first points of contact who may not know much about how neurodivergence or other conditions present. (Anyone who has been paying attention should not be surprised to learn that ASD often presents differently in girls than boys. Guess what most of the literature describes. Admittedly, that doesn't apply in this case, but still: grr.)
 

Frideswide

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#55
People in this situation are quite capable of starving themselves nearly to death rather than eat a food source that creates that kind of anxiety.
this! I am friends with a family where the 5 year old has a PEG system because of the huge anxiety around food. No obvious source for it. As @MissViolet suggests, the mind will do what it will do. My intervention and support is for the older autistic boy; given the family I wouldn't be at all surprised if the wee one was ASC too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percutaneous_endoscopic_gastrostomy
 

INT21

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#57
I don't eat breakfast.

Maybe a bowl of cereal now and then. But otherwise a coffee will do.

But I rise late anyway.

INT21.
 

Cochise

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#58
Understood that some for various reasons might not manage it, but having breakfast (I have been advised by several doctors) is good for you. Eating late in the day is bad, and every drunken kebab probably takes a week off your life.
 

balding13

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#59
Yes. Basically he lived off chips (US - fries) , Pringles, white bread and the occasional sausage (not clear what sort) and processed ham slices. Had he actually eaten McDonalds he's be fatter but not blind.

I largely live off McDonalds / Burger King / Kebab shops / Fish and chip shops because cooking for one is a pretty depressing pastime. I'm neither fat nor dead (yet)
Couldn't agree more. My greed and meanness compels me to cook for myself, but cooking for others is fulfilling in a completely different way. Regarding this specific case, as usual the grauniad has the facts. The poor boy has an acute mental illness which manifests in not being able to cope with certain textures of food.

As for the tone of not being able to 'do' things in various countries, I wish such posters would just return to 4chan. This is a tolerant forum for tolerant people. There's nothing for you here.
 

INT21

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#60
As for the tone of not being able to 'do' things in various countries, I wish such posters would just return to 4chan. This is a tolerant forum for tolerant people. There's nothing for you here.

Looks like I missed something here.

@balding13, what are you referring to in the above ?

INT21
 
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