Reduce the Comorbidities, Reduce the COVID-19 Risk

Since the start of COVID-19, has been sounding the alarm about how our collective poor health, growing obesity & metabolic disorders, and poor dietary choices have been creating highly inflammatory conditions and contributing mightily to those who have suffered severe symptoms.

Now, the CDC is officially confirming what we’ve suspected all along. In a recent interview, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky noted “an overwhelming” number of COVID-19 deaths were among patients with multiple comorbidities. In fact, according to Walensky, 75% of COVID-19 deaths were among patients with at least four comorbidities!

This is consistent with 2020 data that confirmed those with no chronic conditions, or perhaps one, had a 1% chance of dying from COVID-19. The harsh truth is we cannot put this virus back into the bottle, but we can arm ourselves to be more resistant to it, and the root pathway to do so is not via a vaccine. It is through better lifestyle choices, and one the most important lifestyle choices that we must change is our diet. An easy way to think about how to create better health through diet is to think Q / M / F.

Q = Quality; better ingredients, natural and organic foods, grass fed/grass finished meats & dairy; copious amounts of organic cruciferous vegetables; healthy mono-unsaturated and saturated fats, and absolutely removing inflammatory & pesticide-ridden foods from our diet such as sugared beverages, GMO foods, soy, vegetable oils, wheat, oats and all foods with sugar. One of the other foods to be very cautious about are fruits. Why? Fruits are large suppliers of fructose, and fructose has a very different digestion and absorption pathway than glucose. Fructose has to be processed in the liver, and places a tremendous strain on this vital organ. Lots of fruit consumption will cause the liver to become overwhelmed with fructose, and will trigger fat storage in/around organs, contributing to a condition called Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).

M = Macronutrient Mix; there is one macronutrient that causes more inflammation, more insulin spikes, more fat storage, more small/dense LDL (associated with heart disease) and more cognitive decline than any other…carbohydrates. Since the 1970’s, the American Dietary Guidelines have been recommending 55%+ of our diet from carbohydrates, and the result has been catastrophic. 42% of the American population is obese; 20% of children age 2 – 19 are obese and over 80% of African American women are considered obese (a BMI > 30). In addition, 35 million Americans are diabetic (90%+ are Type 2), and another 90+ million are considered pre-diabetic or insulin resistant. But there is hope. More and more research has confirmed the health and cognitive benefits of a healthy ketogenic diet, and people are taking notice. In 2020, it was the #1 searched diet plan in the world (based on google search), and in 2021 it was the diet with the highest menu growth of any diet plan within the restaurant community.

F = Frequency; the popularity of intermittent fasting is growing rapidly, and for good reason. While Generation Y and Generation Z are showing more of a propensity to snack, others are finally understanding the role hormones play in fat metabolism or storage, and how frequent consumption contributes to weight gain, insulin resistance and obesity. Not only is late night snacking a behavior that almost assuredly will drive obesity, but eating 5 – 8 times per day to “keep blood sugar levels stable” actually does just the opposite. This behavior triggers insulin, which shuts off fat metabolism, and forces the body to store extra fat, while sending the person on a “yo-yo” blood sugar management experience that generates hunger within a short time of eating a meal. Consistent eating produces large amounts of circulating insulin and leptin, and the fat tissue that is created becomes a very attractive entry point for pathogens such as COVID-19. Instead, reduce the frequency of eating to no more than 3 times per day, and try to keep your eating window to no more than 8 hours (sometimes referred to as a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule). During the non-eating window, only drink non-caloric beverages like tea, coffee or water, with no additional sweeteners or creams. Using non-caloric flavor enhancements like lemon, lime, cinnamon or vanilla can help your taste buds feel stimulated while keeping insulin dormant.

Making these important changes can reduce comorbidities and the risk associated with COVID-19. Stay well!