We all know that good health and junk food are about as compatible as gasoline and firefighting. Bad eating habits increase our risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity and even depression.
In the most extreme cases, it might even lead to vision damage.
Consider the case of a teenager who might be the pickiest eater in Great Britain. The boy had a distaste for certain textures of food. As reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the boy’s diet consisted of a daily portion of fries from his local fish and chip shop, potato chips, white bread, processed ham slices and sausage.
At age 14, he visited his general practitioner complaining of tiredness. Doctors noted the boy wasn’t overweight and showed no obvious sign of malnutrition. Tests revealed the teen suffered from anemia and a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Physicians gave him a B-12 injection and dietary advice.
The next year, the boy reported hearing and vision problems. His eyesight got worse over the next two years. His B-12 deficiency remained, and he also had low levels of the chemical selenium, copper and vitamin D.
Doctors ultimately diagnosed nutritional optic neuropathy — his optic nerve was damaged. And the damage was permanent. After a prescription of nutritional supplements, the teen was referred to mental health professionals for an eating disorder.
Researchers caution that nutritional optic neuropathy is rarely seen in developed nations, and this case is an outlier. While a diet heavy on junk food isn’t good for you, it’s not likely to cause you vision problems.
For better overall health, however, your mom’s dinnertime admonition bears repeating: Eat your vegetables.