A strict diet to get rid of obesity against coronavirus is not recommended

The news that most corona patients in intensive care are overweight may make obese people want to lose weight drastically. However, a strict diet to prevent coronavirus infection is both senseless and unwise, warns obesity professor Liesbeth van Rossum, internist at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

Up to 80 percent of corona patients on IC are overweight

Friday, March 27, 2020, Diederik Gommers, chairman of the Dutch Association for Intensive Care (NVIC), indicated in the TV program Jinek that two-thirds to 80 percent of corona patients in intensive care have been found to be overweight. His colleague, head of intensive care at the UMCG in Groningen Peter van der Voort agrees with 18 IC patients who are being treated there. He noticed that almost all patients have the same build and suffer from adiposity, or obesity.

Obesity and diabetes

According to Gommers, it is therefore a fairly general picture in the Netherlands. The exact reason has not yet been investigated, but according to Gommers it may be related to the fact that overweight people also have diabetes more often than average and are therefore vulnerable to the virus. A heavy chest could also make breathing difficult.

Obesity is an important risk factor

According to internist van Rossum of the Erasmus Medical Center, it has become clear in recent weeks that a disproportionately large proportion of corona patients on ICs are overweight. “We also see that this group becomes more seriously ill than people with a healthy weight. Much emphasis is placed on frail older persons, but obesity is also an important risk factor for becoming seriously ill with a corona infection. ”

Resistance and diet

Van Rossum points out that many so-called crash diets are aimed at a drastic reduction in calories. “The danger lurks that a nutrient deficiency will arise and that must be prevented in order to maintain good resistance,” says Van Rossum. “It is also the often related unhealthy lifestyle that makes people vulnerable after corona infection.”

Long-term adjustment of lifestyle

In the NOS Radio 1 Journaal, Van Rossem adds: “Of course it is good to solve obesity, but that did not happen in 1 day. Then you have to change your diet and lifestyle for a long time and that is not easy in such a quarantine period. The cause of the obesity must also be addressed. That could be stress or sleep deprivation, for example. ” Van Rossum indicates that obese people should now mainly prevent them from becoming infected with the virus.

Watch out for stress eating

Van Rossum emphasizes that people who now sit at home and experience stress should live as healthy as possible. “People are more likely to reach for snacks or alcohol, but above all, comfort yourself with a healthy lifestyle and prevent your pounds from increasing further,” she says.