Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case–control study in six countries
A recently published case-control study involving participants from 6 countries showed that the standard of strict vegetarian diet with natural and whole foods (plant-based diet) provided 73% less chance of manifestation of moderate to severe symptoms of COVID- 19 when compared to those that followed other diets.
The evaluation was also made against those who followed the plant-based diet compared with those who followed a low carb and high protein (low carbohydrate diet and high in protein). The risk of moderate to severe symptoms of COVID-19 was almost 4 times higher in those following low carb/high protein.
About the studyA total of 2,884 participants (94.8% were physicians and 5.2% were nurses and assistants) who worked on the front line against COVID-19 in 6 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and United States of America), compared to the number of contaminations, severity and duration of infection, which occurred between July 17 and September 25, 2020.
A total of 568 cases and 2,316 controls were evaluated.
The cases were considered symptomatic when the individuals presented, persistently, fever, cough, fatigue, loss of taste and smell. They were asymptomatic when there was no symptom, but antibodies or PCR tests were positive. The individuals who entered the control group were those who had no symptoms and also had negative blood tests to detect contact with COVID-19.
The food profile of the participants was also evaluated, and 11 profiles were computed: whole food, plant based, vegetarian diet, fish-vegetarian, Mediterranean, ketogenic, paleolithic, low fat (low fat), low carb (low carbohydrate), high protein (high in protein) and none of the previous ones.
This reduction in risk in the plant-based pattern (and also in the vegetarian-pesco) was evaluated by adjusting the other possible confounders, such as BMI (body mass index) and comorbidities.
Text prepared by Dr Eric Slywitch (CRM 105231) @drericslywitch, director of Department of Medicine and Nutrition of International Vegetarian Union (IVU)