Why do those with diabetes seem more vulnerable to COVID infections and complications? Health care providers and scientists are aware that the two most common characteristics among many of those who are losing their battle with COVID is being overweight or obese and having chronic diseases.  Add COVID to an unhealthy body is like putting gasoline on a fire.

A recent study in Japan, can be read in Medical Dialogues suggests that a protein called GRP78, found in adipose tissue or fat cells may be to blame. The protein helps the COVID virus bind to and enter cells where it causes problems according to senior author Iichiro Shimomura. Those that are overweight or obese would be affected the most.

Only about 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy meaning the waistline is normal and they do not have diabetes, high blood pressure or elevated cholesterols. Poor metabolic health is a driver for ALL hospitalizations and deaths. COVID has just pulled back the curtain to reveal how unhealthy we are as a nation.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, ‘we’ve created the perfect environment for COVID-19 to thrive, thanks to our broken food system that grows, processes, markets, and distributes an abundance of cheap, inflammatory, nutrient-deplete, and immune-suppressing ultra-processed foods without sufficient healthy, minimally processed foods like nuts, fruits, beans, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, seafood and more.’

The standard American diet or SAD is more than 60% ultra-processed food mostly from commodity crops of wheat, corn, and soy. These products are turned into ‘food-like substances’ that are nutrient-deplete leading to hunger cravings. Thus, more calories are consumed, overweight, obesity and chronic diseases develops.

To win the battle, we must eat ‘real food’ that builds a warehouse of defenses in the body. Real food leads to lower food intake by giving the body what it needs. This leads to lower caloric intake which leads to weight loss. Weight loss leads to improved energy.  Improved energy leads to more exercise which leads to more weight loss.  See the cycle here!!!

Nutrition leads to improved health which can completely reverse chronic diseases in some situations.  Money is saved by lowering the cost of medications and health care visit.  More money in your pocket is always a good thing. 

A diabetic can significantly lower their risk of COVID infection by controlling blood glucose levels.  Diabetes control means an A1c below 7 AND minimal fluctuations of blood glucose levels. If you are wearing a continuous glucose sensor, this means a time-in-range of 70% or more.  These are general guidelines and should be tailored to each individual by their health care provider according to the American Diabetes Association.

Start slow and remain steady in improving your health. Remember, you eat an elephant ONE BITE AT A TIME!

Live Long, Live Healthy!

Dr. Julie Wood is a Nurse Practitioner and has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for more than 30 years, specializing in adults with obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Office is located at 401 First Avenue, Mt. Pleasant, TN and statewide with telehealth. Dr. Wood can be reached at 931-325-5560, www.diabetesmgtassociates.com, info@diabetesmgtassociates.com.  

Articles are meant to be informative and should never replace the advice of your health care provider.