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Overnutrition or hyperalimentation is a form of malnutrition. This may come as a surprise to some people because we tend to think of malnutrition as not eating enough. In reality, malnutrition is not about quantity, but rather about quality. It literally means "poor nutrition," not "insufficient nutrition." Overnutrition occurs when the supply of nutrients exceeds a person's personal requirements.

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1. Overnutrition Explained

Overnutrition is the overconsumption of one or more nutrients to the point where it becomes harmful. The condition tends to be associated with self-indulgence and gluttony, and people think of unhealthy foods such as salty, sweet, and fatty treats. But these items aren't always to blame. A person can eat adequate food portions at regular intervals and still have a diet much too rich in certain nutrients. Even having too much of a single essential nutrient such as folic acid can result in overnutrition. Iron, copper, and fluoride poisoning are also good examples. The same goes for vitamins. Too many vitamins in the diet can lead to hypervitaminosis. However, an imbalance in minerals and vitamins may have more to do with metabolism and less to do with food. Hypervitaminosis is quite rare; when health organizations refer to the overnutrition epidemic, they usually mean excess weight and obesity.

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