Globesity; the amount of obese people worldwide.
Global Pandemic; the worldwide spread of an infectious disease.
My opinion? Perhaps we don’t have a global pandemic perhaps it’s globesity that is the issue. Before you turn off – let me explain.
Evidence is emerging that the BMI (Body Mass Index) and mortality and morbidity from SARS CoV2, are linked. In other words, your chances of becoming sick or dying from COVID increases as your weight increases if you are considered overweight or obese.
To understand this link we firstly need to understand the numbers:
In 1950, 700 million people were malnourished compared to 100 million (mainly in western countries) obese. No country has gotten rid of hunger without shifting to obesity. In India there are 52 million overweight or obese; China has four times the rate of teen diabetes than that of the US; Brazil’s population is ballooning to over 50% overweight or obese; and Mexico has a whopping 70% that are overweight with 30% obese. And western countries are no better. 70% of Australia’s population are overweight or obese and the USA over 50% that are now obese.
Secondly, we need to understand how the disease connects to these numbers:
There are three factors of the disease COVID19.
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome ARDS or viral entry
- Cytokine Storm – multiple system and organ failure
- Blood Coagulation
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (Viral Entry)
Viral entry can be facilitated by obesity as there is a likelihood of the upregulation of some of the host cell receptors. (ACE2) see (1) for more information on this.
The major hallmark of the disease called COVID is the systemic inflammatory immune response known as a Cytokine Storm.
A cytokine storm is when the immune system overreacts to an infection, invader or stimulus, which in turn creates excessive inflammation. The immune system or inflammatory response goes from beneficial to destructive with an onslaught of uncontrolled inflammation. This can lead to organ and system failure, or even death.
Looking at blood work, this cytokine storm is marked by high levels of inflammatory cytokines, interleukin – 6 (IL-6), IL-8, IL-10, tumour necrosis factor alpha and interferon – y. Of most significance IL-6, an increase in this cytokine is associated with higher mortality and is a robust marker for predicting disease prognosis and deterioration of a patient. (2,3). Simply, the more your IL-6 spikes, the worse your current health condition is considered.
Fat cells make IL-6 along with other cells, therefore the more fat on the body the more IL-6 that can be made, thus contributing to the cytokine storm increasing chances of sickness and death.
What is interesting is that fat cells can be pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory; it’s important to understand the difference and why fat cells can be so opposing in their action. Pro-inflammatory means it causes inflammation and an increase in IL-6. Anti-inflammatory means the exact opposite reducing the amount of IL-6 produced.
Firstly, reducing weight to decrease the chances of morbidity and/or mortality from COVID19 is a must considering the 3 hallmarks of the disease can be enhanced by obesity.
Just like the vaccine is not about reducing or stopping transmission of the virus (SARS CoV2), but rather about reducing the severity of the disease; the same can be achieved through the simple act of losing weight and reducing BMI. (1)
Secondly, it may also come down to the fat you are consuming as to whether your fat cells are anti or pro-inflammatory. Yes, it’s true!
Consuming vegetable oils on a daily basis including; soya, corn, canola, rice bran, grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, most sunflower as well as the generically named vegetable oil, margarine, shortening, vegetable spread or anything made up of these oils, causes a more pro-inflammatory nature within your body – increasing IL-6 overall.
All these oils promote inflammation starting in the gut and extending into the arteries, nervous system, and everywhere else in your body. They block enzymes involved in breaking down fat for energy and can contribute to weight gain—especially the most inflammatory type of weight gain—around the waist or visceral fat.
Consuming animal fats like tallow, butter, lard, ghee and cold-pressed oils, like inca inchi, macadamia, avocado, olive, almond, coconut and walnut, cause a more anti-inflammatory nature within the body.
Every time you eat fat, if it’s not used for energy, it can be used for structure of cells, manufacturing of hormones and/or stored for later use. These fats or oils are imbedded into the body in many ways and the quality of the fat will in turn create the quality of the human form and function.
In other words; Consume bad fats and oils and create a system that malfunctions in energy, function and immunity. Consume good fats and oils and create a biological system that functions at its best.
The fact is, our consumption of vegetable oils as a population is escalating. According to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation an arm of the United Nations showed that global edible vegetable oil allocated for food use had increased by 48% from 1995 to 2011 (150 billion litres). Now in 2021 there is a whopping 209 billion litres allocated for food use and a further 380 billion litres of vegetable oil produced for biodiesel, candle making, cosmetics and other industries. Soy oil being the greatest chunk out of the pie at 380 billion litres produced every year. (4)
That means for every human on the planet there is 30 litres of refined pro-inflammatory vegetable oil allocated per year. I don’t eat any, this is a nonnegotiable for me – so someone is consuming my allocation. The oil is not only high in omega 6’s but the agricultural practices are bad for the planet and for human health – most are genetically modified and roundup ready.
This means it is resistant to the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), meaning this can be sprayed directly on the crop and if the seed used for the oil is not genetically modified, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, can be used in the final week of growing in order to dry (desiccate) the crop.
Once the crop has been harvested, the seed or legume is refined using the following steps:
1: Transportation of seed and legume to refining factory after being stored in silos with phosperine.
2: Heating of the seed or legume at a very high temperature causing oxidation and rancidity.
3: Process the seed or legume with a solvent to extract the oils.
4: Heat again and add acid to remove any wax solids that formed during the first processing.
5: Treat the oil with chemicals to improve colour and consistency.
6: Deodorize the oil to mask the smell and taste from the chemical processing.
Many people want to use grapeseed or rice bran oil to make mayonnaise, pesto’s and sauces because they have a neutral taste and smell. But this is artificial in its making and as a result decreases the quality of the oil.
Is it Sugar or Fat?
In my opinion, too much has been based on the quantity of carbohydrates eaten as opposed to the quality of the fats and food eaten. While sugar and carbohydrates become the demon and are taken off the table, rancid and inflammatory vegetable oils are added to just about every ultra-processed food in existence. Almost every restaurant uses it (very few don’t); every fish and chip shop, fast food takeaway and corner store. These oils are cheap and unhealthy and are everywhere. Just start reading your ingredients in your pantry to see how rampant they are in the diet.
You will find these oils in chocolate, candy bars, cereals, bread, crackers, chips, sauces, condiments, cookies, biscuits, fast food, restaurant faire, prepared meals, muesli bars, diet foods, baby formula, baby foods, PEG feeds, NGtube feeds, hospital food, cafeteria’s, croissants, candles, cosmetics, dairy products like feta, olives in oil and the list goes on and on. Nobody is talking about this. These foods with added vegetable oil can cause and contribute to fat cells and the body being inflammatory in nature as opposed to anti-inflammatory.
Just the simple change to avoid this one type of ingredient can make a difference to your health and immune system. The fact that it is everywhere makes it harder but not impossible. It’s about awareness and then finding alternatives that do not use these pro-inflammatory oils.
The Fat Loss Protocol and The Healthy Keto Way are two programs I suggest which I’ve designed from working as a nutritionist for 40 years. They will help you lose weight, get healthy and find your energy again. They will also educate you about food choices. More information can be found in my book Lab to Table – stop being a lab rat and start making better choices for your table.