As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we continue to see a pattern in those more at risk. People who aren’t metabolically healthy (think obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension) are much more likely to experience severe complications if they are to get the virus. And to put that in perspective, only 1 in 8 Americans are considered metabolically healthy. That means a lot of us are at risk during this already alarming time. We can start changing that today, though, and create a newfound health baseline while creating a greater level of resilience when it comes to chronic disease and future situations like this.
The US isn’t the only place dealing with an epidemic of obesity and other metabolic diseases. The UK and other parts of the world are also struggling, thanks to the spread of the ultra-processed food and a sedentary lifestyle. On this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m joined by Dr. Aseem Malhotra to talk about the impact COVID-19 is having on the UK, the risks that metabolic diseases pose with the virus, and much more. Dr. Aseem Malhotra is a founding member of Action on Sugar and was the lead campaigner highlighting the harm caused by excess sugar consumption in the United Kingdom, particularly its role in type 2 diabetes and obesity. His first book, co-authored with Donal O' Neill, The Pioppi Diet, has become an international bestseller.
*For context, this episode was recorded on April 24, 2020
Here are more of the details from our interview:
Metabolic disease, excess body fat, and chronic inflammation lead to worse outcomes from COVID-19, as well as from the flu (5:13)
Dr. Aseem’s personal experience with belly fat and excessive sugar intake (13:53)
Five markers to assess metabolic health (17:49)
Risks associated with sarcopenic obesity and loss of muscle mass, especially among older people (21:30)
Health disparities and COVID-19 outcomes (25:24)
Why the idea of personal responsibility is fundamentally flawed when it comes to our current food environment, including the food environment in hospitals (27:51)
The role of public health interventions in improving life expectancy (34:11)
What is ultra processed food? (40:56)
Dr. Malhotra’s diet recommendations for combating inflammation and preventing insulin resistance (43:30)
Eating healthier on a budget, how policy can make healthier foods more affordable, and the Environmental Working Group’s Good Food On A Tight Budget Shopping Guide (48:04)
Learn more about Dr. Aseem Malhotra at http://doctoraseem.com/. Follow him on Facebook @aseem.malhotra.98, on Instagram @lifestylemedicinedoctor, and on Twitter @draseemmalhotra.
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