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UK doctor alerts Indians to poor diet link to Covid-19 deaths


LONDON: Poor diet is a leading cause of Covid-19 deaths and Indians must urgently cut down on ultra-processed foods to create resistance against the deadly virus, a leading Indian-born cardiologist in the UK warned.

Dr Aseem Malhotra, who is among the front-line physicians of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) and also a professor of evidence-based medicine, said obesity and excess weight were the “elephant in the room “to be addressed as an important factor behind Coronavirus deaths.

“India is particularly vulnerable as it has a very high prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases,” says the 42-year-old doctor, who is on a mission to raise awareness of lifestyle changes as an important weapon. in the fight against the coronavirus.

“Specifically, conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease are three of the main risk factors for death from Covid-19. This is based on excess body fat, a group of conditions known as metabolic syndrome” . celebrated.

Western countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have seen some of the highest Covid-19 death rates in the world, likely to correlate with unhealthy lifestyles.

“The elephant in the room is that benchmark general health in many western populations was already in a horrible state to start with. In the UK and the United States, more than 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese,” he noted.

In the USA In the U.S., fewer than one in eight people are metabolically healthy, which means having normal blood pressure, having a weight girth if you’re a man under 102 cm and less than 88 cm for a woman, and healthy blood sugar levels. blood and good cholesterol.

“There is no such thing as a healthy weight, just a healthy person. If people try to maintain all of these metabolic health parameters through a healthy lifestyle, this could be accomplished within a few weeks with just a change in diet.” says Malhotra, who is from New Delhi.

A recent report in the scientific journal ‘Nature’ revealed that patients with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome could have up to a 10-fold increased risk of death when they contract Covid-19 and require mandatory glucose control and metabolic control of patients with type 2 diabetes improve outcomes

Malhotra cautions that the medications used for type 2 diabetes and many of the other conditions have “very, very marginal effects” in terms of improving lifespan or reducing the risk of death, that most people don’t know about, and also with side effects

“This is not to say that medications should be discontinued, but lifestyle changes are considerably more impactful on health and will reduce the need for medications. The positive news is that it can reverse this, but patients are not being informed. nor is it practiced by most doctors as lifestyle prescriptions in India, “he said.

Based on his own clinical experience and also reflected in the medical literature, the expert recommends abandoning ultra-processed foods, which cover any packaged food that comes with five or more ingredients, because these are generally rich in sugar, starch, unhealthy oils, additives and preservatives.

In the UK, these foods now account for more than 50 percent of the diet, which he says is “truly amazing and shocking.”

Similar figures exist for the USA. USA And probably to some extent they reflect why there are specifically higher death rates from COVID-19 in these countries.

“So what I would recommend to the Indian population is that they completely eliminate these types of food from their diet, make sure they are cooking from scratch, do not eat snacks,” said the doctor.

“Beyond that, the other problem in the Indian diet is that we have a very high intake of foods with refined carbohydrates, these are also foods that are particularly harmful in excess because they increase glucose and insulin and therefore are Rooted in many of these chronic conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and Heart Disease – this implies excessive consumption of flour and white rice.

“These should be swapped with a variety of whole foods, such as vegetables and fruits, and for those who are not vegetarians, it is completely fine to eat red meat, as well as full-fat dairy products, eggs, fish, etc.,” he said.

Referring to recent data on the increased risk of black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) communities in the UK from coronavirus, the NHS doctor believes the disparity is also related to culture or style of lifetime.

“South Asians have been found to be vulnerable because the prevalence of metabolic syndrome is three times higher in the population. Indians, therefore, I think should be very careful about their diet and what they consume, and should not be the illusion of protection just because they receive a normal body mass index (BMI) .Additional body fat, particularly around the waist, is much more damaging to health than using outdated indexes like BMI to define risk for health, “he said.

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