Column #251

There seems to be a million different world views. They exist in every facet of life whenever two or more people evaluate the same object, event, or point of view and come to a different conclusion. Just ask accident investigators about viewpoints and they’ll explain how difficult it is to get the same story from more than one witness to the same event.

I write a lot about food’s impact on our health and wellness. I use anecdotal examples and peer-reviewed studies as often as possible. Yet it’s amazing how many people get upset or disagree with the information. Emotions can rule which illustrates why facts often rarely matter. In spite of trying to keep an open mind, emotion aside there’s one fact that won’t change my mind. That fact is “we are what we eat.”

The COVID-19 crisis is sending home a message to us that some people are far more vulnerable to it than others. People with certain chronic diseases are amongst the most vulnerable. The list below is based on a study of 5,700 COVID-19 cases in the New York City Area that were admitted to hospitals. The percentages reflect the distribution breakdown of their chronic diseases. Of all hospitalized patients, 88% had more than one comorbidity:1 2

Only 6% of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients did not have any of these chronic diseases. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have other developing chronic issues that contributed to their weaker immune systems. In any case the 6% number still underscores the fact that for healthier citizens the virus is not very serious.3 4

The information tying chronic diseases to COVID-19 hospitalizations is ubiquitous. But while there are advertisements for all kinds of drugs for treating various diseases and anti cigarette advertisements to get people to stop smoking, where are the ads promoting healthy food and condemning the foods that contribute to chronic disease? I ask that because every disease listed above is tied to what people eat. On the flip side of that, how many at risk people are actively seeking the foods that will suppress their diseases?

For starters, about 70% of all Americans are overweight. So other than talking up breadlines, why can’t healthy food be a big part of the national conversation? Exercise, sleep, meditation, social mixing, and many similar healthy activities will have little impact on halting the chronic diseases listed above. Nor will eating organic food help because that term does not refer to actual food chemistry. For instance, is organic sugar, organic wheat, organic cigarettes, organic peanuts, organic soybeans, etcetera, good for you? And if we run a mile a day that doesn’t mean we’ll lose weight. Human bodies are very efficient. What counts most of all is the actual chemistry of the foods we eat and the quantity consumed.5

My interest in nutrition was really charged up in 1999 after reading “Essential Fatty Acids in Health and Chronic Disease” by Artemis P Simopoulos. That’s when I first realized how important Omega-3 was for our health. Some months later I read her 1991 report titled “Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Health and Disease and in Growth and Development.” In that older report she reviewed some of the preliminary work from the 1950s and explained how it missed the boat. It wasn’t until breakthroughs occurred in the 1970s that the importance of Omega-3 in human health was firmly established. After a lot more research took place during the 1980s, in 1991 she  confidently stated: “Today we know that Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal growth and development and may play an important role in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease, hypertension, arthritis, other inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, and cancer.”6 7 8

Here we are 30 years later and the Omega-3 story has only gotten better with many more chronic diseases being subdued. Based on that science I’ve said thousands of times, the best foods we can eat are low glycemic, nutrient dense and diverse, with balanced Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. But Americans still don’t eat these healthier foods in quantities that are beneficial which is why they are so fat and so sick.9

Most Americans are literally addicted to foods that are on the wrong end of the unhealthy-to-healthy food spectrum. Then there are people who believe meat is unhealthy, saturated fat is to be avoided, and others who worry about chemicals in seafood. Couple those erroneous beliefs with most people refusing to adapt to new flavors and habits, then we have most of the reasons for not eating grass-fed meats, Omega-3 meats, wild-caught seafood, green leafy vegetables and other selected veggies. Consequently, as a nation, we’ve ended up where we are today. Most Americans are sick, vulnerable, and have expensive medical bills.10 11

It’s almost like the general population has a death wish. I find it really strange.

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don’t miss these links for additional reading:

1. Coronavirus, Diabetes, Obesity and Other Underlying Conditions: Which Patients Are Most at Risk? by Karina Zaiets, and Ramon Padilla from USA Today

2. Nearly All Patients Hospitalized With Covid-19 Had Chronic Health Issues, Study Finds by Roni Caryn Rabin from New York Times

3. Overweight & Obesity Statistics from NIH

4. Adult Obesity Facts from CDC

5. Organically Grown Poisonous Plants by Ted Slanker

6. Essential Fatty Acids in Health and Chronic Disease by Artemis P Simopoulos

7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Health and Disease and in Growth and Development by Artemis P Simopoulos

8. Nix Six & Eat Three – EFA Education by Dr. Bill Lands

9. New Food Analysis Tables by Ted Slanker

10. Food Addictions by Ted Slanker

11. Food Prices and Spending by Ted Slanker