Consumption of ultra-processed foods increases risk of COVID-19


The speedy transmission of the extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causal agent of the coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, has immensely affected the worldwide healthcare sector and economic system. Moreover, the incidence of lengthy COVID, which entails the persistence of signs for greater than three months, has considerably affected thousands and thousands of people.

Research: Impact of ultra-processed food intake on the risk of COVID-19: a prospective cohort study. Picture Credit score: Daisy Daisy /


A number of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and non-pharmaceutical methods have been designed to handle the continued pandemic. However, a greater understanding of the danger components related to SARS-CoV-2 an infection would assist shield people from contracting the an infection sooner or later. 

Diet is the important thing supply of power and is taken into account to be a serious determinant of human well being. A balanced weight loss program is related to sustaining a wholesome intestine microbiome, which is a crucial issue that regulates the immune system.

In line with a latest research, people who eat better quantities of fruit and veggies, in addition to a wholesome plant-based weight loss program, are at a decrease danger of COVID-19. This statement signifies a possible hyperlink between weight loss program and COVID-19.

Primarily based on the extent and function of commercial processing, food-based merchandise have been categorized into 4 teams by the NOVA classification system. Of those 4 teams, ultra-processed meals (UPFs) consist of commercial formulations of processed meals substances, equivalent to fat, oils, starch, sugar, and protein isolates. These meals merchandise are subjected to hydrogenation, hydrolysis, or different chemical modifications by the addition of colorings, flavorings, and emulsions.

Usually, UPFs comprise excessive ranges of saturated fat, sugars, trans fat, and salt. Moreover, these merchandise comprise a low quantity of protein, dietary fiber, nutritional vitamins, and minerals.

A number of research have indicated that UPFs are a main dietary supply of meals adulterants and neo-formed compounds, which can alter the composition of the intestine microbiota and improve the danger of irritation.

Concerning the research

People closely depending on a UPF-rich weight loss program usually undergo from mineral and vitamin deficiencies, expertise harm to the immune system, and are extremely vulnerable to infections. UPFs are related to an elevated danger of inflammatory bowel illness, heart problems, and most cancers.

Scientists have famous a shortage of proof associated to the connection between UPF consumption and the danger of COVID-19. Contemplating this hole in analysis, a latest European Journal of Nutrition research explored the affiliation between UPF consumption and the danger of SARS-CoV-2 an infection.

The present research used knowledge from the UK Biobank, which is a potential cohort containing about half 1,000,000 members from twenty-two evaluation facilities throughout Scotland, Wales, and England. All research members have been between 40 and 69 years of age. A complete of 41,012 members from the U.Ok. Biobank have been thought-about on this research.

To evaluate the dietary consumption of the members within the earlier 24 hours, scientists used the Oxford WebQ dietary questionnaire. This questionnaire included 206 kinds of meals, together with their portions and 32 kinds of drinks. 

For the 24 hours dietary evaluation, the net dietary questionnaire was recalled a minimal of two instances and a most of 5 instances. The present research measured the affiliation between UPF consumption, as indicated by the % every day gram consumption, and SARS-CoV-2 an infection utilizing a multivariable logistic regression that was adjusted for potential confounders.

Research findings

A powerful relationship between UPF consumption and elevated danger of COVID-19 was noticed. This affiliation was constant in diversified sub-groups based mostly on age, comorbidity standing, and academic stage.

Though the affiliation between UPF consumption and COVID-19 was partially mediated by physique mass index (BMI), a direct impact of UPF weight ratio on the danger of COVID-19 was established. 

A number of the mechanisms that hyperlink UPF consumption and elevated danger of COVID-19 embody enhanced ranges of sugars and trans-fat, which stimulates pro-inflammatory results. This situation might adversely have an effect on the synthesis and performance of immune cells.

Moreover, UPFs comprise excessive saturated fat and diminished fibers, which could result in continual activation of the innate immune system and suppression of the adaptive immune system. The chemical components of UPFs additionally adversely have an effect on human well being. Moreover, a UPF-rich weight loss program might trigger vitamin and mineral deficiencies that would considerably have an effect on the human immune system.

BMI was discovered to be a partial mediator that influenced the affiliation between UPF and COVID-19. A big improve in UPF consumption occurred throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, which could have affected individuals’s immunity, thus making them extra vulnerable to the an infection.


The present research is the primary to discover the connection between UPF consumption and the danger of SARS-CoV-2 an infection. This huge potential cohort research revealed {that a} UPF-rich weight loss program was related to a considerably elevated danger of COVID-19. Due to this fact, a nutritious diet with diminished UPF consumption has been beneficial to guard people from extreme medical outcomes.

Journal reference:

  • Zhou, L., Li, H., Zhang, S. et al. (2022) Impression of ultra-processed meals consumption on the danger of COVID-19: a potential cohort research. European Journal of Diet. doi:10.1007/s00394-022-02982-0
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