Slide Update: Metabolic Health Status, United States Adults, and why it matters when thinking about a “no meat” workplace

2018.05 Low Carb and Low Carbon - Ted Eytan MD-1001 847
2018.05 Low Carb and Low Carbon – Ted Eytan MD-1001 847 (View on Flickr.com)

This data is well known among the metabolic health / diabetes reversal community, and is typically quoted as “88% of American Adults are not in optimal metabolic health.” I posted on it previously, without visuals. See: Just Read: Prevalence of Optimal Metabolic Health in American Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2016 (Are you in the 12%? here’s how I am)

This is a visual representation that breaks out the data by weight (BMI) as well as age group.

This shows that among an employed population (Age > 20 years), the overwhelming majority of people are not in metabolic health. This has implications for things like food procurement and other workplace environmental issues. The overwhelming majority of people also do not know their metabolic health status, unless such information has been collected (by blood tests) and compiled correctly.

The unintended consequences of a No Meat policy for this population – “Meat: No, Diabetes: Yes”

The most spectacular version of this is the WeWork company, which went “No Meat” in 2018:

2019.06.27 Low Carb and Low Carbon, Washington DC USA 1780005
2019.06.27 Low Carb and Low Carbon, Washington DC USA 1780005 (View on Flickr.com)

As can be seen from the images above, while meat was restricted/made unavailable, ultra-processed foods remained in copious supply almost every day, all day (I know, I took these photos).

If the overwhelming majority of the population in this environment is struggling with metabolic health, ultra-processed foods are not a healthy alternative to meat.

One could say this is an extreme example (for an extreme company, as detailed in this recent expose), however, it’s fairly common wherever I go, because the reality is:

  • If meat is taken off the menu, it is replaced with something
  • The something it’s replaced with is usually less nutrient dense and more highly processed

Here are some examples of those:

2018.05 Low Carb and Low Carbon - Ted Eytan MD-1001 788
2018.05 Low Carb and Low Carbon – Ted Eytan MD-1001 788 (View on Flickr.com)

I have many, many, many more photos like this. I’d like to add what I see behavior-wise in these situations, which is people coming back to the table, every 2 hours, to ingest more (probably as their insulin and sugar levels fall).

It would be better, and better for the environment (less waste, less health care costs) to cater no food at all.

Ideas for a more sensible food policy

I recommend

This is not a blog post about promoting meat consumption in the workplace

This is a blog post about promoting health in the workplace.

If removing meat assured that outcome, then I would promote it, too 🙂 .

It’s useful to remember that a metabolically unhealthy person is at some level fighting for their life and this has now become the majority of people in the workplace. Many in this situation do not feel comfortable vocalizing their fears publicly – in my experience, people often come to me privately. Threatening their health in the interest of what may be seen by some as virtue signaling may not be the best choice to make in the long run. Luckily, better choices can be made, because this is the decade of #DataOverDogma.

Happy to answer questions.

Definition of Metabolic Health used in the analysis above

  • Waist circumference < 102 (men) / 88 (women) cm
  • Blood pressure < 120/80
  • Blood glucose < 100 mg/dl
  • HbA1c < 5.7 %
  • Triglycerides < 150 mg/dl
  • HDL Cholesterol >= 40 (men) / 50 (women) mg/dl
  • No meds for glucose, BP, cholesterol

(note that LDL cholesterol is not in the definition)

There is no drug available to reverse these markers. Only diet can do it.

Food for thought.

Reference

Araújo J, Cai J, Stevens J. Prevalence of Optimal Metabolic Health in American Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2016. Metab Syndr Relat Disord [Internet]. 2018 Nov 27 [cited 2018 Nov 29];met.2018.0105.

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