Homeostasis

And the Digestive System

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Fun Facts about Homeostasis and the Digestive System

The oncept of homeostasis is widely used, in Life Science, to identify what seems to be a general attribute of living organisms: the tendency to maintain and restore certain steady states or conditions of the organism. An obvious example is that of body temperature, which in the human tends to fluctuate only in a narrow range about the value 98.6° F. When the temperature rises above the normal range, corrective reflexes (perspiration, reduced metabolism, etc.) go into action to restore the steady state. Persistent deviation may initiate other actions (moving into the shade, plunging into water, etc.). If body temperature drops, other corrective actions are observed.

Many bodily steady states follow this pattern. Blood glucose level, blood pH, and osmotic pressure are examples. The key concepts are: an observable steady state that persists over time with minor changes; thresholds above and below this normal range; a sensory input that reports changes in the steady state; and effector mechanisms for restoring the steady state.

When a deviation goes beyond either the upper or the lower threshold, energy is mobilized to restore the steady state to its optimal value.

The Foods We Eat!

Though your children may ask for junk food because they like the taste or because their friends are eating it, you undoubtedly already know that junk food can have negative effects on them. Junk food is typically is low in nutrients and high in calories from added sugars, starches or fats.

Processed and junk food lovers beware! There are many negative repercussions to persistent junk food eating habits, not just the obvious and inevitable weight gain. Below is a short list of how junk food negatively impacts our bodies. Think about it the next time you are reaching for your second helping of cheesy nachos that accompanies the double stacked hamburger sandwich and large soda.

Weight Gain

A negative effect of junk food on children is rapid weight gain, often leading to excessive weight and sometimes obesity. This is because it often tastes good, is not very filling and is high calorie. Candy, soft drinks, French fries and other fried foods, pizza, burgers, baked goods and ice cream are examples of high-sugar or high-fat foods which provide hundreds of calories per day for the typical American youth ages 2 to 18, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Type 2 Diabetes

Junk food puts kids at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes occurs when you are not able to properly regulate your blood sugar level. Your risk increases when you are obese and when your diet is high in high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as sugars and refined starches in sweets, white bread and potatoes. Type 2 diabetes increases your risk for kidney failure.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Junk food can lead to nutritional deficiencies when your children eat it instead of healthy foods with essential nutrients. Healthy meals and snacks should provide essential nutrients, such as B vitamins; magnesium and iron from fortified, whole-grain cereals and grains; calcium from milk or yogurt; healthy fats from nuts and dietary fiber; and vitamin A and vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, children may miss out on these nutrients when settling for such things as breakfast sandwiches, potato chips, candy and soft drinks.

Cardiovascular Disease

Junk food is often high in saturated fat, which raises LDL cholesterol and may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Junk foods with saturated fat include pizza, ice cream, processed meats and full-fat cheese. High blood pressure is another risk factor for heart disease, and a high-sodium diet leads to high blood pressure. Children may be at risk for high blood pressure when eating salty junk food such as potato chips, French fries, pretzel

Obesity

Junk food enthusiasts are prone to put on weight, especially when they eat this kind of food very often. The fat and processed flour only make people fatter and unhealthier, as does the oil and grease that are used for fries, chips, donuts and other deep-fried foods. Statistics even show people who eat junk food tend to accompany it with sodas and alcohol, which are either laden with sugar or empty calories and both increase a person’s tendency to put on weight.

Homeostasis - Keeping the balance!