Monday, March 13, 2023

Diet And COVID-19 Severity

The Study

The association between eating a healthy diet and risk of COVID-19 outcomes was examined in almost 43,000 subjects from Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professional Follow-up Study. A healthy diet score was created to see how closely subjects followed a Mediterranean diet. The results were interesting:

-Subjects who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet had a 22% lower chance of contracting the virus when compared to those who followed it the least.

-When they did contract COVID-19, subjects who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet had less severe infections and were less likely to be hospitalized.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2022; 116:1672-81.

Take Home Message

I know that most people are tired of thinking about COVID-19. I am too. However, it appears that it will continue to be a part of our lives, at least for the immediate future. It has taken some time for good quality research to be conducted on COVID-19 and it is now being published in large amounts.

This study suggests that you can protect yourself from catching COVID-19 and/or a bad case of the virus by eating right.

The authors believe that a healthy diet improved immune function and decreased inflammation in their subjects. This is the most likely reason for the benefit seen here.

Dietary Trends In Fat And Sugar Intake

The Study

Every few years, the government conducts the NHANES (National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey) survey to examine the health of the U.S. population. This cross-sectional, geographically and ethnically representative survey gives a snapshot view of what we are all eating. 

This current study looked at the added sugar and saturated fat consumption of 2-18 year olds. The results were not good. Saturated fat and added sugar accounted for 30% of energy intake. The goal is under 15%.

The top 3 sources of food for our children were:

1) Sweet bakery foods

2) Savory snacks (like potato chips)

3) Pizza

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2022; 116:1779-89.

Take Home Message

These results are disturbing to me for at least 4 reasons:

1) Our children are not getting the nutrients they need to promote healthy growing bodies and brains.

2) This style of eating will dramatically increase risk of weight gain, which is now epidemic among our children.

3) Diets this high in sugar and saturated fat will substantially increase risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and certain cancers. There has also been an association found between eating this way and negative mental health outcomes, like anxiety and depression.

4) We are instilling bad eating habits in our kids which most certainly will be carried on into adulthood.

We need to do a lot better with what we are feeding our children.

App Review: MyNetDiary


If you are trying to make positive changes in your diet to lose weight and/or improve your health, it is very useful to keep track of the foods you eat. It provides accountability and allows you to spot trends in your eating patterns. 

With smartphones, it is now easier than ever to log your food intake. There are a lot of food tracking apps out there. Today, I will review one of them; MyNetDiary. This app is available for download on both Android and iPhones. There is a free version, as well as a paid premium version.


1) As mentioned, the basic version is free. I still don’t know why these apps are mostly free, but they are and we won’t complain!

2) You don’t have to set up an account with MyNetDiary. It is always a pain to sign up for an account with these apps. Then you get blasted with emails about upgrades and offers. You don’t have to do this with MyNetDiary, you just download it and are ready to go.

3) It has a very easy interface. It took me just a couple of minutes to figure out how to log my foods.

4) It has a bar code reader, so you can scan in your food items. This is a really cool feature.

5) There are tons of foods in the database. Every brand I looked up, I found.

6) There is a nice, simple nutrient report, along with a pie chart showing fat, protein and carb percentages. You can see this for each meal and for the whole day. This is very useful.

7) You can store commonly eaten foods, so once you search for a food, you can easily access it for a future meal.


1) There are just a few too many notifications suggesting things to try out on the app.  This can be mildly annoying.

2) The dashboard is a bit cluttered with options you don’t really need and likely will never use.

Would I Recommend MyNetDiary?

Absolutely! This free and handy little app will be a real asset to anyone trying to track changes in their diet. I always have new clients write down their food for the first few weeks we work together. It is a powerful tool that takes just minutes a day.

Disclosure: I am not affiliated with the company that makes the MyNetDiary and make no money if you buy the premium version.