On Tuesday, the CEO of Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain that sells salads for round $15 a serving, mentioned that the underlying downside with the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed greater than 600,000 Americans thus far is that the majority of them had been fats.
“78% of hospitalizations as a consequence of COVID are Obese and Overweight individuals,” Jonathan Neman mentioned in a Linkedin post. “Is there an underlying downside that maybe we have now not given sufficient consideration to? Is there one other means to consider how we deal with ‘healthcare’ by addressing the basis trigger?”
Neman is considerably right in that most individuals who had been hospitalized or died due to COVID-19 additionally had comorbidities that made the virus extra lethal, similar to being obese. A CDC report from March indicated that weight problems was an independent risk factor for extreme COVID-19 signs and demise. But whereas Neman is on to one thing, it’s not possible to separate his feedback from the truth that he income straight from a specific (and expensive) thought of “well being.”
In his publish, Neman said “no vaccine nor masks will save us” and floated the concept of “well being mandates.”
“COVID is right here to remain for the foreseeable future. We can’t run away from it and no vaccine nor masks will save us (in full disclosure I’m vaccinated and help others to get vaccinated). Our finest guess is to discover ways to finest dwell with it and give attention to general well being vs stopping an infection,” he mentioned.
“What if we centered on the ROOT CAUSE and used this pandemic as a catalyst for making a more healthy future??” Neman wrote.”We clearly haven’t any downside with authorities overreach on how we dwell our lives all within the title of ‘well being,’ nonetheless we’re creating extra issues than we’re fixing.”
“What if we made the meals that’s making us sick unlawful? What if we taxed processed meals and refined sugar to pay for the impression of the pandemic? What if we incentivized well being?” he added.
Sweetgreen didn’t instantly reply to Motherboard’s request for remark.
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Neman’s argument is just like the rationale of John Mackey—Whole Foods’ chief executive—who informed the New York Times final 12 months that consuming “wholesome” (for instance, the meals bought at Whole Foods) is the answer to America’s healthcare disaster. He added that weight problems wasn’t an “entry downside” however a “market demand downside” and boiled right down to “poor selections, largely as a consequence of ignorance.”
Neman’s advocacy for options similar to focusing on processed meals has additionally already been tried in the course of the pandemic. In July 2020, Britain rolled out new insurance policies to combat weight problems and a “Better Health” campaign to give attention to particular person selections similar to smoking, food regimen, train, and ingesting. A Nature article reviewing these insurance policies and the marketing campaign discovered that they relied on “disgrace and guilt” in ways in which might “encourage crash weight-reduction plan and an unhealthy relationship with meals, which could be very detrimental to long-term psychological and bodily well being.”
One of the insurance policies restricted promoting of meals excessive in fats, sugar or salt, in addition to enhancing meals labels to offer extra dietary data. As Nature factors out, nonetheless, this boils right down to a “simplistic message of consuming much less and shifting extra” versus asking in regards to the complicated interplay of things resulting in weight problems together with “genetic, environmental, and socioeconomic elements.”
Meanwhile, Neman proposes financially punishing individuals who eat low-cost however unhealthy quick meals (quite than costly however “wholesome” Sweetgreen). It’s notable that Neman doesn’t point out, say, the reluctance to completely fund a social security web that includes food stamps or provide free nutritious meals for the hundreds of thousands who commonly go with out, or are compelled to eat cheaper, typically much less wholesome choices.
Sweetgreen might describe itself as being dedicated to “constructing more healthy communities by connecting individuals to actual meals,” however maybe that needs to be amended to actual expensive meals that has been criticized through the years for being not as healthy or accessible because the salad chain insists.
Update: After this text was revealed, Neman deleted his LinkedIn publish. It remains to be accessible by way of the Internet Archive.