DARK SIDE OF THE SPOON: COVID-19 OUTCOMES AND DIET TYPE

Updated: Apr 9

This article is dedicated to all those who have been affected by COVID-19.

Could your diet affect your chances of getting severely sick with COVID-19? We already know that the risk of having severe complications from COVID-19 are strongly associated with obesity, hypertension, diabetes and other metabolic disorders. We also know that nutrition plays a large role in all of these conditions. So I guess it wouldn’t be so far fetched to think that your risk of getting really sick from COVID-19 would be increased with a bad diet.

A study recently published (references below) tested just that! It was the first study of its kind, designed specifically to see how dietary patterns impacted COVID-19 outcomes. They followed over 2800 health care workers that were then divided according to their dietary habits: 1) plant-based (almost no meat or refined foods), 2) plant-based or pescatarian, 3) baseline control eating a standard diet and 4) low carb/high protein. Let’s keep in mind that low carb diets usually mean high fat diets similar to keto diets, which contain high amounts of animal products.


As you can clearly see in the graph below (which has already accounted for confounding factors), the odds of having moderate to severe outcomes from covid are directly proportionate to the amount of animal products in your diet. We already know that all meats, but especially red and processed meats, are pro-inflammatory and so it’s no surprise that COVID-19, a systemic inflammatory response, would be worse in patients following this dietary pattern. Plant-based dietary patterns, where meat and refined foods are minimized, were associated with being protective against moderate and severe complications from COVID-19.

The nerds out there might have noticed that although the low carb diet increases risks of having severe outcomes from COVID-19, the results AREN’T statistically significant,

since they’re compared to a baseline group eating an unhealthy diet as well. But the protective effects of the plant-based diet ARE statistically significant and by looking at both extremes of meat consumption, there’s a striking difference in risk of getting severely sick from covid between those eating no meat and those eating mostly meat.


Studies on meat heavy low carb diets already have shown increases of up to 30% in all cause mortality, so nutrition specialists weren’t too surprised to see these same findings in this study.


Simply put, this study shows the same thing than others have shown before. The risk of having a poor outcome from COVID-19 (and many other disease) infection gets higher with increased meat consumption, even after correcting for confounding factors.

So this study concluded that a plant-based diet could reduce the chance of having a moderate to severe outcome from COVID-19 by a whopping 73%! Almost 30000 people have died from COVID-19 in Canada, and 621000 have passed in the USA. If all the severely sick patients would have retrospectively adopted a plant-based diet, imagine how many lives could’ve been saved. My goal is to inform those interested that by consuming a diet where people increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and spices they eat, they can achieve optimal health, and with time, they’ll naturally boot out the excess meat we eat day in, day out. Even patients eating a loosely planned plant-based diet containing small amounts of meat have better outcomes. It’s not about eating meat or not, that’s a totally personal choice, but more about being informed that many chronic diseases are more likely to occur in those eating more.


Considering that we have seen over 207 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and that 4.35 million people have died from this horrible disease, studies like this should be front page news, and everyone should be made aware of the protective effects of a plant-based diet on COVID-19 complications.


Check out my website plantbaseddrjules.com and look for the “How To” section in the menu. There, you’ll find tips and tricks that helped me on my journey towards a plant-predominant diet. Everything there is completely free, no catches! If you're looking for quick, easy and healthy plant-based recipes, check out plantbaseddrjules.com and download my free recipe eBook!


Look for me on the socials, @plantbased_dr_jules on Instagram and go like my Facebook Page, Plant-based Dr. Jules. If you’re looking for some fitness motivation and are curious to see what a plant-based athlete can accomplish, follow me, @maritimeninja, on my fitness account on Instagram or check out my fitness group on Facebook, called Maritime Ninja Warrior. Me and my wife Melissa have recently qualified for the Las Vegas Ninja Warrior World Championships that will be held in July 2022, and you can follow our journey on IG!


Thanks so much for reading! Please consider sharing this article!

Plant-Based Dr. Jules 💚🌱

plantbaseddrjules.com

@plantbased_dr_jules

@maritimeninja



Please keep taking care of yourselves and others! Share this information with those who might care to hear it!


Plant-based Dr Jules 🌱💚



CITATION

Kim H, Rebholz CM, Hegde S, LaFiura C, Raghavan M, Lloyd JF, Cheng S, Seidelmann SB. Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case-control study in six countries. BMJ Nutr Prev Health. 2021 Jun 7;4(1):257-266. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2021-000272. PMID: 34308134; PMCID: PMC8219480.























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