By Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN
Scientific Director, Essential Formulas
Unfortunately, the primary form of exercise for people during the COVID-19 lockdown was walking from the couch to the refrigerator and back again.
Last week, a shocking American Psychological Association (APA) survey captured media attention by announcing that 61% of American adults in the U.S. reported undesired weight changes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the SARS-CoV-2 virus arrived on the scene, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and obesity were already considered to be life-threatening epidemics in the United States. That said, the extent of the weight gain recorded by the APA is frightening. The APA survey reported that “42% of American adults report an average weight gain of 29 pounds.”
And it gets worse. Among African American adults, who experienced significantly higher hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19, 42% reported an average weight gain of 35 pounds!
Young people got hit hardest. 48% of Millennials (those between the ages of 25 to 41) reported an average of 41 pounds weight gain! Furthermore, for parents of young children, who’ve had to struggle with homeschooling and 24/7 childcare responsibilities, 51% of these parents reported weight gains averaging 36 pounds!
I want to emphasize that this APA report was NOT a formal scientific study. The results were based on a compilation of people’s self-reported weight gains. However, before the SARS-CoV-2 virus arrived, the United States was already experiencing an epidemics of epidemics; we already had an epidemic of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and ADHD.
Even if the results of the APA survey are only partially accurate, it reveals a shockingly disturbing trend that may accelerate the incidence of lifestyle-related chronic degenerative diseases in the United States in the coming decades and cause these diseases to develop earlier in life.
The APA report highlights how important it is for people to exercise regularly AND eat healthy food. Eliminate sugar. Avoid processed foods. A term that I like is EAT FOOD WITHOUT LABELS. One of the biggest reasons for weight gain and health problems in American and worldwide is fiber deficiency in the diet.
Your probiotic bacteria regulate gut health, and a healthy gut microbiome is the foundation of whole-body health. However, it is critical for people to understand that fiber is the food for their “friendly” probiotic bacteria. But, the average American diet is seriously deficient in fiber. One study reported that 90% of American adults and children do not consume adequate amounts of fiber. Also, it is important to realize that a diverse range of different types of fiber are required for a healthy gut microbiome because different types of gut bacteria require different types of fiber to thrive.
As a company, we at Essential Formulas encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. In addition to regular exercise, we encourage people to consume diets that contain a wide variety of organically grown, fiber-rich colored vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed grains… AND take Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics daily. That’s a prescription for a healthy diet, a healthy gut microbiome, and a healthier life.