HEALTH experts have issued warnings to people to eat “real food” after a new study revealed a link between Covid-19 deaths and poor diet.
Leading the call is Dr Aseem Malhotra, whose research has revealed that unhealthy food is “killing patients”.
Dr Malhotra is campaigning for public health messaging to be “urgently updated” after his report found that 73% of 2,204 patients admitted to NHS intensive care units were obese.
The Harley Street honorary consultant is now calling on patients to “immediately” cut out sugar and ultra-processed foods which are major factors in obesity.
In his findings, published in the New European Scientist, Dr Malhotra also issued a specific warning to NHS staff, arguing that 50-60% are overweight and therefore more likely to succumb to the virus.
He also pointed to high levels of Type 2 Diabetes among the BAME community as an explanation as to why “disproportionate numbers” of those members were succumbing to the virus.
Dr Malhotra took to Twitter today to share his research and called on the government to to add to his advice to their official guidance.
He shared the report saying: “Poor diet is root cause of #COVID19 mortality driving the lockdown. These diet related diseases ARE reversible within weeks to months.
“Now is the time to eat real food, protect the #NHS and save lives.”
Speaking today, he said: “What is staggering is after looking at all the data it is irrefutable that metabolic disease is the leading cause of mortality from Covid-19.
“This covers much of what we are already being told, that outcomes for patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure are far worse than in otherwise healthy adults.
“What is not being spelled out is that poor diet and obesity is behind this.
“By immediately cutting out sugar and ultra-processed food and preparing fresh meals, the impact on health can be seen in just a matter of weeks.”
“A significant health message should now be to ‘eat real food, protect the NHS and save lives’.
“Such implementation backed by policy changes may not just save hundreds and potentially thousands of lives around the world in the coming months.”
Experts in the field back Dr Malhotra’s call for guidelines to encourage healthier eating.
Dr Campbell Murdoch, a GP with a special interest in metabolic health, said: “Dietary change with reduction in ultra-processed foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to a rapid improvement in metabolic health and weight loss.
“People need awareness, knowledge and support to make choices that are best for their health.
“This article is important for raising awareness and knowledge. We must all rise to the challenge to provide support to the nation, and take the necessary actions, to improve metabolic health and reduce the lethality of COVID-19”.
Tim Spector, Professor of genetic epidemiology, King’s College, London added: “Obesity and poor diet is emerging as one of the biggest risk factors for a severe response to Covid-19 infection that can no longer be ignored”.
And Ex deputy Labour leader Tom Watson also weighed in, saying: “Whatever the clinical debate about the causes and best treatments for the virus, few disagree that we need to improve the nation’s general health through improved nutrition.