A teenager has lost his sight and hearing after living off chips, crisps, white bread and processed meat for most of his life.

It with great sadness that we bring this story but, as an organisation that has long championed the importance of meals based around whole foods, we hope this case provides a clear example of why the right food choices can be so important.

The boy from Bristol lost two of his major senses as a result of lack of nutrition.

His health began to suffer when he was 14 and he complained to the doctor that he was always tired. Tests carried out showed he had low vitamin B12 levels which contributed to a condition called macrocytic anemia meaning his body had larger-than-normal red blood cells

Vitamin B12 is found in fish, beef, eggs and low fat milk. Initially, he was given injections of vitamin B12, however, a year later doctors found his sight and hearing had been damaged.

A case report stated that by the time he was 17 the “patient’s vision had become progressively worse, to the point of blindness”.

It was only then that he disclosed that since primary school he had lived on a diet of Pringles, white bread, ham slices and chips, avoiding foods with “certain textures”.

Further medical investigation found he had severe vitamin D deficiencies, a reduced bone mineral density and low levels of copper and selenium.

A nutritious diet is essential to maintain good health and the study carried out by the Bristol Eye Hospital has demonstrated how important fresh fruit and vegetables are for a human body to function properly.

The report said: “The risks for poor cardiovascular health, obesity and cancer associated with junk food consumption are well know, but poor nutrition can also permanently damage the nervous system, particularly vision.

“It is rare in developed countries. The condition is potentially reversible if caught early. But if left untreated, it leads to permanent blindness.”

It is upsetting that a teenager has suffered in this way and we hope that similar cases can be prevented through greater knowledge of the consequences that can occur.

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