Cutting This From Your Diet Could Reduce Your Risk of COVID Death
Health experts say doing so could limit inflammation and protect against coronavirus death.
When it comes to reducing your risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, it's not just about how often you wash your hands or who you socialize with—what you eat could be every bit as important. Some doctors now suggest that adopting a low-carb diet could help save your life if you do come down with coronavirus.
A July paper published in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine suggests that limiting a person's intake of refined carbohydrates can help reduce high blood sugar, which might ultimately save their life. The paper specifically cites an April study of COVID patients with pre-existing type 2 diabetes published in Cell Metabolism. In the study, researchers found that diabetic coronavirus patients with well-controlled blood sugar were approximately 10 percent less likely to die during hospitalization than those with poorly controlled blood glucose levels. Diabetic coronavirus patients with well-controlled blood sugar also experienced lower rates of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), blood clots, injury to their kidneys or heart, and septic shock.
Maryanne Demasi, PhD, the author of the BMJ paper, says that adopting a low-carb diet is among the easiest ways to head these potential health issues off at the pass among coronavirus patients. "Restriction of dietary carbohydrates is a simple and safe intervention which results in rapid improvements in glycemic control and can be implemented alongside usual care in a medical or domestic setting," she writes.
However, even among non-diabetic coronavirus patients, cutting carbs could be a life-saving measure. According to a July 10 study published in Diabetologia, non-diabetic coronavirus patients admitted to a hospital in Wuhan, China were 22 percent more likely to die after 28 days if they had high blood sugar upon admission, and were 32 percent more likely to have coronavirus-related medical complications.
So, why might cutting carbs help protect you if you do develop coronavirus? As clinical nutritionist and fitness expert Ariane Hundt, MS, explains, processed carbohydrates can raise blood sugar levels. High blood sugar has now been linked to a higher risk of COVID complications and death. Beyond that, Hundt notes that high blood sugar and insulin can set off a chain reaction of inflammation and metabolic issues, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, "all conditions we have seen among those affected worst by COVID-19." And if you're worried about your coronavirus risk, make sure to stock up on these 7 Things the CDC Says You Need to Have to Avoid Coronavirus.