The modern world still has a major problem with sugar.
We eat more than 129 pounds of it annually, more than double the intake less than a century ago, and nearly 75% of all packaged foods and beverages are sweetened.
Sugar has been called a “major contributor” to health problems including obesity, Type-2 diabetes, and heart disease, and more than 30% of U.S. adults are now pre-diabetic.
But here’s the thing: Those conditions are now also recognized as COVID-19 comorbidities. Patients with diabetes, heart disease or who are overweight are more likely to suffer serious consequences from the novel coronavirus.
The Washington Post took on this topic earlier this week:
“Obesity, a significant public health problem among both American adults and children, is one of the risk factors for severe disease and death from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Others include older age and such underlying medical conditions as heart disease and diabetes, both of them related to obesity.
“Obesity grew from 30.5 percent to 42.4 percent among American adults between 2000 and 2018, while severe obesity rose from 4.7 percent to 9.2 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, obesity contributes to heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes, which increase the risk.
“Researchers don’t yet know why obesity worsens covid-19. They are trying to untangle the reasons, with several ideas under study. “It’s clear that we need to think more deeply about what it is about the obese state that makes covid-19 more deadly,” O’Rahilly says.”
In spring 2019, long before the pandemic, I talked with Dr. Robert Lustig about the connection between the foods we eat (particularly sugar) and our overall health.
His message: Poor diets are killing us slowly. But is COVID speeding up that process?