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Energy and Starvation

If we do not get enough energy from our food we may use some of our energy reserves. Our body stores most of its energy as fat. If we do not eat enough energy-giving food over a long period of time (months or even years) we will lose our reserves and our health will start to suffer. Today about 400 million people in the world do not get enough energy in their diet. (The total world population is over 6000 million people). This is hunger and it is thought that 12000 people die each day because they do not get enough to eat.

World Map showing the daily intake of KJ in different countries.

Note: The World Health Authority says that 12600 kJ per day is just adequate for an adult man.

The opposite situation is also bad for our health. If we eat too much energy-giving food we store the excess energy that we do not use. This energy is stored as fat. This means that the person increases in mass and the blood vessels can become blocked with a fat called cholesterol. This can lead to poor health, especially diseases of the heart. Therefore to be healthy you need a balanced diet which does not contain too much energy or too little.

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