By now the reality of a pandemic has settled in with each of us. Our lives have been impacted in numerous ways, not the least of which is our eating patterns.

You all know the stark reality that current research is revealing about obesity risk and outcomes for obese patients in relation to contracting the coronavirus, but it’s worth repeating the facts here:

  • COVID-19 is classified as a pandemic. Obesity is an epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data indicates 42.4% of U.S. adults were obese in 2017-2018.
  • Recently published data suggest that obesity may be a risk for worse outcomes from COVID-19.
  • A sample snapshot taken from the CDC’s April 17th, 2020 report reveals nearly half (48.3%) of patients in COVID-NET had obesity. This suggests that hospitalization may be more likely for obese patients.
  • A study published in Obesity in April from France revealed 47.6% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were obese (BMI >30) and 85.7% severely obese patients (BMI > 35) ended up being placed on a ventilator. (This becomes necessary when you can no longer breathe on your own to sustain appropriate oxygen levels for survival.)  In short, the impact of obesity restricts your lungs.
  • Obesity can also have a negative effect on your immune system.
  • Social distancing measures can be preventing you from following a proper diet, and sustaining adequate daily activity levels, both of which can worsen obesity.

For purposes of this blog post, we will stick with the topic of addressing long term healthy eating as we have transitioned to social distancing, and expect to remain this way in some form or fashion for some time to come.

The following are suggestions to ponder as you begin to adapt to our new lifestyle, while remaining flexible to an ever changing social environment.

  • Hydrate – Adequate hydration is very important for overall health and to help your liver metabolize fat stores to promote weight loss. Drink 64 oz. of sugar-free beverage daily.
  • Increase protein – lean meat, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, Greek yogurt
  • Freeze meat/fish to increase shelf-life
  • Consume whole grains for energy after weight loss in moderation and after eating protein and non-starchy vegetables first
  • Eggs – (in moderation) great source of protein source-can be kept in fridge for 3 weeks
  • Limit canned meats (high in sodium) – tuna ok (rinse salt from water-packed)
  • Consume non-starchy vegetables/fruits – green, orange, yellow, red, blue, purple
  • Avoid high fat, sugar, salt

Grocery Shopping Tips

  • Make out a food shopping list, and plan to shop enough for 2 weeks- worth of meals.
  • Wear a mask and be sure to use hand sanitizer after leaving the store and when arriving home, then wash your hands again after unpacking all grocery items.
  • Remember, the healthy and more nutritious items are around the perimeter of the store (produce aisle, meats/dairy). The processed food items are typically on the shelves in between.
  • Try preparing and freezing healthy meals for multiple uses as opposed to buying canned foods high in sodium
  • If the shelf is empty at the store try shopping mid-week. Shop early in the day when shelves are newly stocked with items (Wednesday or Thursday mornings.) Avoid weekends.