Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (diet exercise) or involuntary (illness) circumstances. Most instances of weight loss arise due to the loss of body fat, but in cases of extreme or severe weight loss, protein and other substances in the body can also be depleted. Examples of involuntary weight loss include the weight loss associated with
- Malabsorption (such as from chronic diarrheal illnesses)
- Chronic inflammation (such as with rheumatoid arthritis)
- Terminal illnesses (such as heart diseases emphysema, AIDS, Ebola etc.)
Weight loss occurs because people take in fewer calories than their body needs. This may be due to decreased appetite or a disorder of nutrient absorption. Less frequently people have disorders that causes them to use more calories (increased appetite due to an overactive thyroid gland) Sometimes, both mechanism are involved as seen in cancer patients who have decreased appetite and also an increased caloric expenditure, leading to rapid weight loss
Sickness and Weight Loss
Weight loss may either be a sign of sickness or it’s symptom. Sickness that usually lasts a week or less may lead to less of a weight loss, mainly unwanted fat. However, if someone loses more than 2 pounds (0.9kg) in a week, the person is losing more water and muscle than fat and this may demand nutritional intervention.
Eating and Drinking When You’re Sick
A person may not feel like eating when sick, but it’s important the person tries to eat, or at least drink, for nutrition and hydration which is essential for recovery. Good choices of drinks include nutritional meals, clear juices, broth and water. Soup, such as chicken noodle soup, makes a good choice when someone is sick because the fluids and sodium helps him/her stay hydrated, while the chicken provides protein. If the person is feeling nauseous, they should try to nibble on crackers, toast or plain pasta or rice.
Eating During Recovery
A sign of feeling better after illness is the return of their appetite. However, after eating poorly for a few days, he/she may be ravenous, which may make it hard for such a person to control his/her eating to keep the weight off. While it might be difficult to prevent some of those pounds from returning, filling his/her diet with low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods during the recovery phase may help limit some of the unwanted weight gain and help reduce the risk of gaining more weight than they started with.
Whether a sign or symptom, weight loss can either be minimized or averted by ensuring adequate nutritional intake. High protein, high calorie nutritional drinks like fortiva RECOVER provides a complete balance of nutrition to boost a faster recovery.