Note: Here is an unpopular opinion challenging my thinking on how pro-vaxxers think of "us." They can't understand how many of us do not vaccinate in an effort to protect ourselves and/or our families. It shocks them. And then they tell us that we are putting OTHERS at risk by our decisions. And we're punished. So what is the difference when COVID-19 has ravaged Americans and Europeans whose underlying conditions are often a function of diet? Feel free to agree or disagree. If you do not actively attend to your diet as actively as you are willing to wear a mask or stay at home, are you putting everyone around you in danger of contracting COVID? Do you risk your families' well being because you are far more likely to die from COVID? I'm Italian American, I know how important food is in our lives. And in our cultures. My plate on Sundays growing up in Massachusetts looked very different from an African American child's plate in Mississippi, or White Anglo Saxon Protestant child's plate in DesMoines Iowa. Changing your diet is really hard. Food is love. Comfort. Food is a function of economics for many. Cheap fast food costs next to nothing compared to healthier choices. Stretching a dollar often means an ever stretching waistband. Habits and lifestyles are deeply ingrained. Weight Watchers has been around for decades, and never put itself out of business. The Western diet is hard to break - and we've been taught by pharma that a pill can take the place of personal responsibility and action. A pill for every ill.
Read this recent study and ask yourself if instead of temperature checks, we should be checking grocery carts TO PROTECT THE HERD.
COVID-19 and metabolic syndrome: could diet be the key?
In the current COVID-19 pandemic, governments mandate social distancing and good hand hygiene, but little attention is paid to the potential impact of diet on health outcomes. Poor diet is the most significant contributor to the burden of chronic, lifestyle-related diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.1 As of 30 May 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that among COVID-19 cases, the two most common underlying health conditions were cardiovascular disease (32%) and diabetes (30%).2 Hospitalisations were six times higher among patients with a reported underlying condition (45.4%) than those without reported underlying conditions (7.6%). Deaths were 12 times higher among patients with reported underlying conditions (19.5%) compared to those without reported underlying conditions (1.6%).2 Two-thirds of people in the UK who have fallen seriously ill with COVID-19 were overweight or obese and 99% of deaths in Italy have been in patients with pre-existing conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.3 These conditions, collectively known as metabolic syndrome, are linked to impaired immune function,4 and more severe symptoms and complications from COVID-19.5
A major factor that drives the pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance,6 defined as an impaired biological response to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. The dysregulation of blood glucose levels plays an important role in inflammation and respiratory disease. A study of patients with COVID-19 with pre-existing type 2 diabetes showed that those with better regulated blood glucose control fared better than those with poor blood glucose control.7 Specifically, well-controlled blood glucose (glycaemic variability within 3.9–10.0 mmol/L) was associated with reduced medical interventions, major organ injuries and all-cause mortality during hospitalisation, compared with individuals with poorly controlled blood glucose (glycaemic variability exceeding 10.0 mmol/L). Another study showed hospitalised patients with hyperglycaemia treated with insulin infusion had a lower risk of death from COVID-19 than patients without insulin infusion, likely due to reduced inflammatory mediators.8
The most significant factor that determines blood glucose levels is the consumption of dietary carbohydrate, that is, refined carbs, starches and simple sugars. However, the official dietary recommendations of most Western countries advocate for a reduced (low) fat, high-carbohydrate diet, which can exaccerbate hyperglycaemia. These dietary guidelines form the basis of menus in nursing homes and hospital wards where people with COVID-19 and pre-existing metabolic syndrome are undergoing recovery and respite.
The problem is not only confined to nursing homes and hospitals. As people self-isolate at home, many are stockpiling non-perishable staple foods that are cheap such as (carbohydrate-rich) pasta, bread, rice and cereal.9 Our food supply is dominated by highly processed, packaged foods; 71% of available food in the USA is classified as ‘ultra-processed’.10 Food and beverages such as pizza, doughnuts and fruit juices and other sugary drinks are likely to drive hyperinsulinaemia and inflammation, especially in those with metabolic syndrome.