Of course, Merino mentioned, folks with wholesome diets could also be completely different in some ways from these with less-healthful consuming habits. So his workforce accounted for elements like age, race, exercise habits, smoking, body weight and whether or not folks lived in low- or high-income neighborhoods.
Obesity, for instance, is a threat issue for extreme COVID-19. And physique weight did clarify a superb portion of the connection between weight-reduction plan and COVID-19 threat, the research discovered.
But weight-reduction plan itself nonetheless confirmed a protecting impact, the researchers famous.
The hyperlink was really strongest amongst individuals who lived in economically disadvantaged areas, Merino mentioned. The researchers estimated that if a type of two elements was not current — poor weight-reduction plan or deprivation — virtually one-third of COVID-19 instances within the research group might have been prevented.
Glatt cautioned, nonetheless, that it is vitally troublesome to separate any impact of weight-reduction plan from all the things else folks do of their lives.
“There are just so many variables,” he mentioned.
People who attempt to eat healthfully, Glatt mentioned, are in all probability cautious about their well being generally — and defending themselves towards COVID-19, particularly.
The researchers did ask respondents about their mask-wearing habits, and people responses didn’t clarify the diet-COVID hyperlink.
But, Glatt mentioned, “it’s impossible to account for everything” — together with whether or not folks labored from house, used public transportation, or have been prepared and in a position to keep away from different crowded indoor conditions.
Merino pointed to another limitations of the research. While about one-quarter of respondents have been age 65 or older, they have been pretty wholesome as a gaggle — with few reporting persistent situations like heart disease and diabetes.
Plus, Merino mentioned, the survey was performed in 2020 — earlier than anybody was vaccinated and earlier than the emergence of the extremely contagious Delta variant.
Whether a healthful weight-reduction plan might need any further influence in a vaccinated particular person, or throughout a time of Delta dominance, is unknown.
Those caveats made, each Merino and Glatt mentioned that consuming loads of entire, plant-based meals is definitely a clever concept, since folks with good diet are typically more healthy and hardier.
“It’s quite reasonable to suggest that a healthy diet will be beneficial,” Glatt mentioned.