How Diet Is Driving COVID-19 Outcomes

Episode 109 1h 4m
Topics Overview


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. Many people don’t realize we can prevent chronic disease through our everyday choices, like diet and exercise. That means we’re missing out on valuable protective measures that give us greater immunity and longevity. So while we all hope and wait for a coronavirus vaccine, it’s important to focus on what we can do right now to support our health. Dr. Malhotra and I discuss how to do that as well as the cultural shifts needed in order to protect ourselves better in the future. When we look at our broken food system, our corrupted government funding and policies, and our social inequalities, we realize it’s not always easy for people to do the right thing for their health. We discuss how to build a new foundation that will help us all take better care of our health in a proactive way, and so much more, in this episode. You can find the Environmental Working Group’s Good Food On A Tight Budget Shopping Guide here.

Topics Covered

  • Metabolic disease, excess body fat, and chronic inflammation lead to worse outcomes from COVID-19, as well as from the flu

    (5:11 - 5:13)

  • Dr. Aseem’s personal experience with belly fat and excessive sugar intake

    (13:50 - 13:53)

  • Five markers to assess metabolic health

    (17:46 - 17:49)

  • Risks associated with sarcopenic obesity and loss of muscle mass, especially among older people

    (21:27 - 21:30)

  • Health disparities and COVID-19 outcomes

    (25:21 - 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

    (27:48 - 27:51)

  • The role of public health interventions in improving life expectancy

    (34:08 - 34:11)

  • What is ultra processed food?

    (40:53 - 40:56)

  • Dr. Malhotra’s diet recommendations for combating inflammation and preventing insulin resistance

    (43:27 - 43:30)

  • Eating healthier on a budget and how policy can make healthier foods more affordable

    (48:01 - 48:04)

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Ep. 109 - How Diet Is Driving COVID-19 Outcomes