Mexico Tackles COVID-19 Coronavirus with Junk Food Bans for Minors
- Underlying health conditions like obesity, heart disease and diabetes have emerged as Key factors in COVID-19 severity and fatalities. Obesity 2X’s the risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19 and raises the risk of death anywhere from 3.68 to 12X depending on a person’s level of obesity
- More than 12 states in Mexico have decided to combat the China virus by banning the sale of junk food to minors
- 68% of Mexicans who died from COVID-19 related complications had underlying medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Officials say dietary changes are necessary to protect youth from developing comorbidities that increase COVID-19 severity and risk of death
- Research shows that among 18- to 49-year-olds hospitalized due to COVID-19, obesity is the most prevalent underlying condition. Processed foods, junk foods and soft drinks are Key culprits in the development of obesity
- In Huntington, New York, town officials have urged residents to “go on a diet because with COVID-19, people are 2X as likely to have a poor outcome if obese.” The UK has also vowed to target obesity as part of the country’s coronavirus prevention strategy by restricting junk food ads.
While most mainstream media pundits and American health authorities remain silent about the influence of nutrition and lifestyle on the risks of COVID-19 and its prognosis Mexico decided to combat the chaos by banning the sale of junk food to minors.
As reported by NPR, 14 September 2020:
“First Oaxaca’s state legislature passed a ban on selling or giving out high-calorie packaged foods and sugar-sweetened drinks to minors on Aug. 5. Less than two weeks later, Tabasco state approved a prohibition, too. Now at least a dozen other states are considering similar legislation.
‘I know it can sound a bit drastic but we had to take action now,’ says Magaly López, a lawmaker in Oaxaca’s Congress who spearheaded the ban. More than 70,000 Mexicans have died from COVID-19, the world’s 4th-highest recorded death toll, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University.
“67% of those who died in Mexico had an underlying medical condition such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular problems, according to Health Department officials. That has led to a new urgency to change diets so that the younger generation doesn’t suffer those ailments.”
Adults are also urged to cut back their consumption of junk food to curtail their risk of COVID-19 and other health issues. This includes the consumption of soda, which assistant health secretary Hugo López-Gatell has referred to as “bottled poison.”
Legislators are still pondering how to enforce the ban, but according to NPR, punishment for sale of junk food to minors could potentially include fines or even jail time.
Mr. López-Gatell is reportedly considering making the ban a permanent law in order to protect the health and well-being of Mexican youth moving forward. This would be no easy task, he admits, considering the powerful commercial interests at play. Critics also point out that, in all likelihood, the ban will simply shift business from grocery stores to unregulated street vendors.
Interestingly, when NPR interviewed teenagers around Mexico City and Oaxaca state, they found most “knew about health problems related to junk food” and seemed receptive to the ban. One 16-yr-old girl said, “I‘d be frustrated at first if I couldn’t buy a Coke, but I’d adapt. And maybe I’d think twice and buy fruit or something healthy instead.”
As reported underlying health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes have emerged as Key factors in COVID-19 fatalities.
In one study, more than 99% of people who died from COVID-19-related complications had underlying medical conditions. Among those fatalities, 76.1% had high blood pressure, 35.5% had diabetes and 33% had heart disease.
Another study revealed that among 18 to 49-yr-olds hospitalized due to COVID-19, obesity was the most prevalent underlying condition, just ahead of hypertension.
Processed foods, junk foods and soft drinks are Key culprits in the development of these chronic diseases, and therefore have a Key role to play in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.
“SARS-CoV-2 does not distinguish who it infects. But it does distinguish who it kills.” Dr. Robert Lustig
So, if you suffer from obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, all of which are linked to poor diet your risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases 10X.
Dr. Robert Lustig, is Emeritus Professor of pediatrics in the division of endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, he has also been outspoken about the connection between diet and COVID-19 risks, stating:
“I’ve heard COVID-19 referred to a beast, because it doesn’t distinguish. In point of fact, it doesn’t distinguish who it infects. But it does distinguish who it kills.
Other than the elderly, it’s those who are Black, obese, and/or have pre-existing conditions. What distinguished these three demographics? Ultra-processed food. Because ultra-processed food sets you up for inflammation, which COVID-19 is happy to exploit … Time to rethink your menu.”
Those with a BMI of 35 and over were also 12X more likely to die from COVID-19.
Yet another study published on 2 May 2020, on medRxiv found obesity 2X’s the risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19.
According to the authors: “These findings suggest that modification of lifestyle may help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and could be a useful adjunct to other interventions, such as social distancing and shielding of high risk.”
In an editorial published in the BMJ, 3 researchers cited the role of the food industry in driving up rates of obesity and ultimately causing more COVID-19 deaths.
According to the authors, “It is now clear that the food industry shares the blame not only for the obesity pandemic but also for the severity of COVID-19 disease and its devastating consequences.”
They not only called on the food industry to stop promoting unhealthy food and drinks immediately, but also called on governments to force reformulation of junk foods to better support health.
So far, Mexico appears to be the only nation in the world that has taken the matter seriously enough to actually implement an all-out ban on junk food for children and teens.
Industrially processed seed oils are fats to be diligently avoided and this includes oils like soybean oil, canola oil and corn oil.
In a study, published in the July 2020 issue of Brain, Behavior and Immunity, notes that: “The high rate of consumption of diets high in saturated fats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates (collectively called Western diet, WD) worldwide, contribute to the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and could place these populations at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 pathology and mortality.
“WD consumption activates the innate immune system and impairs adaptive immunity, leading to chronic inflammation and impaired host defense against viruses.
“Furthermore, peripheral inflammation caused by COVID-19 may have long-term consequences in those that recover, leading to chronic medical conditions such as dementia and neurodegenerative disease, likely through neuroinflammatory mechanisms that can be compounded by an unhealthy diet.
“Thus, now more than ever, wider access to healthy foods should be a top priority and individuals should be mindful of healthy eating habits to reduce susceptibility to and long-term complications from COVID-19.”
It really did not take long before it became apparent that the COVID-19 disease was illustrative of the widespread deadly health issue: insulin resistance.
All of the comorbidities that dramatically increase your COVID-19 risks, including the risk of symptomatic COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and complications resulting in death are based on insulin resistance. Remove the insulin resistance, along with vitamin D deficiency, and very few people except for very old and frail individuals would be at significant risk from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
So, it really is high time to start looking at how we can improve people’s overall health in general, and avoid insulin resistance specifically. As a healthy population simply is not going to be as vulnerable to infectious diseases like COVID-19.
My experts have told me the following: Adopt a cyclical ketogenic diet, that involves radically limiting carbs replacing them with healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein until close to or at your ideal weight.
This includes avoiding all ultra processed foods and also limiting added sugars to a maximum of 25 grams per day; 15 grams a day if insulin resistant or diabetic. This will allow the body to start burning fat rather than carbohydrates as its primary fuel and increase the sensitivity of the insulin receptors.
Once you have regained your ideal body weight, then you can cycle carbs back in a few times a wk.
Also by restricting your eating window to 6-8 hrs each day, and making sure to eat your last meal at least 3 hrs before bedtime. This is known as intermittent fasting, and is a powerful intervention to reduce insulin resistance and restore metabolic flexibility.
Additionally, get regular exercise each week and increase physical movement throughout your waking hours, with the goal of sitting less than three hours a day.
Making sure to get sufficient sleep, 8 hrs for most adults and tending to your emotional health are Key factors that can influence your weight, general health and immune function.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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