covid-19 /

Sweetgreen CEO Forced to Delete Post Claiming Obesity is Linked to COVID-19

He is being decried as "fat-phobic" by critics online


Jonathan Neman, the chief executive officer of Sweetgreen, has deleted a Linkedin post arguing for “more health mandates” regarding food because obesity was the “root cause” of COVID-19.

Sweetgreen is a billion-dollar salad chain that operates in 12 different states. 

COVID is here to stay [and] we cannot run away from it and no vaccine nor mask will save us,” Neman wrote on Tuesday. 

He noted that “78% of hospitalizations due to COVID are Obese and Overweight people,” and asked, “Is there an underlying problem that perhaps we have not given enough attention to? Is there another way to think about how we tackle ‘healthcare’ by addressing the root cause?”

“We have been quick to put in place Mask and Vaccine Mandates but zero conversation on HEALTH MANDATES … All the while we have printed unlimited money to soften the blow the shutdowns have caused to our country,” the CEO went on to write, per FOX Business.

He proposed taxing “processed food and refined sugar to pay for the impact of the pandemic.”

“Repairing our food system could save us $2 Trillion a year in direct costs ($1T in Healthcare, $1T in Environmental Impact). OUR TIME IS NOW,” he concluded.

NBC News reported that “Sweetgreen confidentially filed for an initial public offering in June, making this an inopportune time for controversy surrounding the company. Consumer backlash could hurt both its reputation and sales, turning off investors.”

The post was overwhelmingly met with negative responses online. Before Neman deleted it on Wednesday, he was scrutinized for suggesting policies that he would profit from.

“‘The government should coerce people to buy salad’ is a hell of a convenient belief for a Salad Millionaire,” wrote a writer from The Atlantic. 

“Yikes, this is incredibly fat-phobic. Have you considered how our healthcare system systematically underserves people who are considered to be in those groups?” commented one person on the LinkedIn post.

Vice released an editorial saying “while Neman is on to something, it’s impossible to separate his comments from the fact that he profits directly from a particular (and costly) idea of ‘health.’”

The Washington Post also acknowledged that Neman’s comments were rooted in facts: “CDC researchers have found that about 80 percent of nearly 150,000 patients diagnosed with covid in hospitals last year were either overweight or obese and determined those people tended to have more severe symptoms than their skinnier counterparts.”

Neman founded Sweetgreen with two friends in 2007 after they graduated from Georgetown. He was inspired by the food culture in Australia. 

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8 responses to “Sweetgreen CEO Forced to Delete Post Claiming Obesity is Linked to COVID-19”

  1. TuckR8 says:

    I believe the protectionism of obesity is, as always, all about money. Obese and morbidly obese people almost always eat more and therefore are a good source of revenue. Clothing also has to be larger and, to a degree, does not benefit from the economy of scale as normal (S-XL) clothing sizes. Thus, making it generally more expensive. Healthcare costs also drastically increase for the obese, which feeds the absurd money-pit that is the American healthcare/healthcare insurance system.

  2. Wolv256 says:

    Salad is not healthier than meat. Meat and organ meat is the healthiest food. Fuck your cucumbers.

  3. Maiafay says:

    Forced to delete? It’s more like he was a coward and deleted the facts because they hurt precious feelings. I’m overweight and I know it’s unhealthy. Thankfully never got Covid or I was asymptomatic. I’m taking steps to remedy the weight issue, but it is difficult. Lots of good and bad days. But I’m not an idiot when it comes to simple stats. Obesity is a big factor whether you end up in the hospital or not. The end.

  4. UppityG says:

    Some people can’t eat produce, their gut can’t digest it.

  5. UppityG says:

    “Obviously adults are never going to care for themselves properly”? That is a patently insane statement.

    Had you said “Obviously, people who aren’t paying attention to their world and what they eat, and in the impact it has on them personally, are not caring for themselves properly,” I’d’ve nodded in agreement and kept moving.

    As for the rest of that sentence, I give up.

  6. pandusa says:

    It is a co-vid risk factor . If you tend to carry weight around your belly area (that would be me) it restricts your diaphragm. This is the major muscle of respiration (look it up). Also ,the heavier you are the harder it is to exercise and stay fit. I also do not believe in health (or other)”mandates”. Ciggs tax maybe- not necessary to maintain life. Food is. I know where of I speak, having topped out at 250 lbs at one time (158 now). My experience has been, gut bacteria LOVES sugar and simple carbs as well as we do. Sugar, in people that are susceptible due to various factors , can cause gut bacteria to get out of whack. Gut bacteria are lazy and will use the easiest fuel to convert for energy- sugar/simple carbs as opposed to fat . When gut bacteria doesn’t get fed, it gnaws, throwing one into a relatively constant state of hunger. No one WANTS to be obese. Where is all the research money on this American health crisis and processed food additives ect.? We need to find a way to produce safe, affordable, healthy, food that taste good…and people will buy and eat it. Enough with the carrot and the stick mandate mentality.

  7. VannicWolf says:

    Hes got a point, but the media is weirdly protective of obese people. Maybe they really want us to die. Remember that -I think it was- readers digest cover, with the black land whale on the cover, with the words, “This is healthy!” stretching across her entire belly? No. It is not. That is literally the meme with the dog drinking coffee in a house burning down saying, “This is fine.”

  8. Aprilodeon says:

    Kudos Jonathan Newman. It kind of sucks as you think he would know a little something about food and health given his position, but people are discrediting him for it. More people with pedestals should be getting the truth out there. Obviously adults are never going to care for themselves properly(as a whole and those poor kids) but if it became less cost effective for companies to change up the recipes than what are the donut dames going to do-grow Pringle trees?

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