As the weirdness of this pandemic continues, last week we all saw Krispy Kreme’s latest marketing move. I thought I was being Punk’d when someone sent me the link, but was amazed to find out that it was true… Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut if you show that you have received the vaccine. Just when my eyes were about to stop rolling around my head, I saw that it is not just one doughnut, but a doughnut every day for the rest of the year.
In a true health-oriented healthcare system, backlash would immediately hit from doctors from all around the country. But, because our healthcare system fails to address the relationship between lifestyle choices and the absurd amount of obesity and chronic illness, there was no press conference, government mandate, or even warning against what is yet another assault on the health of Americans.
There cannot be any clearer example of the disconnect we have between the food we eat and the quality (lack of) of health that we are experiencing in this country. The fact that every single organization tied to the most prevalent health issues (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc.) isn’t speaking out against this Krispy Kreme move is proof that these organizations are not interested in truly containing or eliminating these conditions. And the fact that every medical doctor, hospital, and healthcare organization isn’t ripping Krispy Kreme shows you the disconnect these people and organizations have between diet and health.
And don’t get me wrong, an occasional doughnut is not going to kill you, and I have even treated my kids to doughnuts on the first day of summer vacation for the last few years.
But last I checked, obesity was among the biggest risk factors for complications and death from SARS-CoV-2. With the U.S. being among the unhealthiest and fattest of all developed nations, our terrible outcomes related to COVID-19 have much less to do with how we’ve handled the virus, and much more to do with the poor state of health most Americans were in when it hit.
Maybe we should ask questions like why are we so sick? Or why are we so overweight? We’ve proven that it isn’t due to genes. We’ve proven that it isn’t because we are living longer. And it surely isn’t because of a lack of medications. The answer is lifestyle… the food we eat, how much we move, how we think, and how we live. Our diet is so closely tied to most chronic illness, that diet should be the primary approach to better managing and eliminating these conditions. Companies like Krispy Kreme directly adversely affect the overall health of our country. It could be said that the high-sugar, highly-processed, low-nutrient density foods so prevalent in this country have directly impacted deaths due to COVID-19.
If I owned a company that provided these foods, my argument would be that people have a choice. They can simply avoid these foods. And I agree. I believe companies like Krispy Kreme should be allowed to produce and sell their sugary treats. I even believe that they should be able to run this absurd promotion they are running. But I believe the healthcare experts, your doctors, and all health-oriented organizations need to use marketing stunts like this to educate Americans on just how bad these foods are for them, how closely they are tied to the diseases that are plaguing them, and on the fact that choosing foods like these contribute to the risk factors that have caused so many unnecessary and preventable deaths from SARS-CoV-2 infections. Because that is the hard truth.
As Krispy Kreme’s C.E.O., Mike Tettersfield spoke to the media, he stated that they are “enhancing the lives of others through the joy of Krispy Kreme.” Whatever enhancement he is referring to, that brief blip of joy you get as you eat that doughnut, is followed by a spike in blood sugar, a blow to the immune system, an energy dip, cravings for more sugar, and an increase in bodyfat, which, over time (a doughnut a day from the day of their announcement would add up to 281 doughnuts) surely does not enhance your life… it destroys it!
Tettersfield also boasted about all the doughnuts they provided to healthcare workers. An act of kindness and generosity? Or an assault on our frontline workers. Did those doughnuts improve their immune strength, energy level, brain function, response time, and overall health? Or did it crush them?
Predatory marketing is one thing. But during a time like this, when your most valuable asset is your health, make sure you don’t fall for the free doughnuts, free movie popcorn, and yes, even a free rolled joint from one cannabis dispensary (not in Ohio). And if your decision to get an experimental vaccine hinges on any of these things, you’ve got a much bigger problem than COVID. And shame on doctors for not only failing to speak out about such ridiculousness, but actually participating in the fiasco.