29th June 2020

Why Losing Weight Could Reduce Your Risk Of Complications From COVID-19

Although many people escape this coronavirus with mild flu-like symptoms or even – if you’re very lucky – no symptoms at all, doctors have increasingly noticed that many of the patients affected most severely are overweight.

Being overweight doesn’t increase your risk of catching the virus if you are exposed to it but being obese does make you twice as likely to end up in intensive care with life-threatening complications if you do catch it. In fact, three quarters of the people who die from Covid-19 are overweight or obese, which is worrying news for the estimated two thirds of the UK population who are heavier than they should be.

Right now, under the spectre of this frightening pandemic, losing weight isn’t about being ‘bikini body ready’ for your summer holiday, or slimming down to fit into your favourite jeans – for many people, weight loss is now, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

5 BIG reasons why Covid-19 is so much worse if you are overweight:

  1. You have less space to breathe. Any excess fat around the neck and airway and the extra weight on the chest hinders breathing, making very heavy people more vulnerable to complications straight away. The more overweight you are, the lower your lung capacity so, if Covid-19 attacks your lungs then you are more likely to end up in intensive care.
  2. You’re more likely to have raised blood sugar levels or type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes (where your blood sugars are raised but not yet in the diabetic range) are more prone to all forms of infection. That’s because raised blood sugar unleashes destructive molecules which interfere with the body’s natural infection-control defences 1.
  3. You are more likely to have metabolic syndrome. If you have a large waist you are more likely to have dangerous ‘visceral fat’ in your abdomen and this can lead to a suite of conditions which include raised blood sugar levels, elevated blood pressure and abnormal levels of cholesterol and fat in the blood which together form a toxic cluster called ‘metabolic syndrome’.  This elevates your risk of dying from Covid-19 ten-fold. That is worrying for the 1 in 3 adults over the age of 50 in the UK, Australia and the UK who have metabolic syndrome. Many of them don’t know it.
  4. You are likely to have damaged arteries. People with raised blood sugar levels also tend to have extensive damage to their blood vessels. Covid-19 attacks your blood vessels and also causes increased formation of blood clots, and if your blood vessels are already damaged through long-term raised blood sugar levels or too much fat in the blood, then this can put you at risk of heart attack or stroke.
  5. Your immune system is likely to struggle. Not only will an immune system weakened by excess weight be unable to mount a strong enough defence to stop the coronavirus replicating itself throughout your body, but it is more likely to over-react under pressure, causing ‘collateral damage’ to healthy tissue.  This can lead to organ failure and even death.

Will a vaccine protect me?

Although over 100 different scientific teams are working hard to produce an effective coronavirus vaccine there is no guarantee one will be found. But even if the most optimistic predictions are right, and a vaccine is discovered this year or next, being overweight is very likely to limit its effectiveness. A study of more than a thousand people given a flu jab found that the people who were obese were twice as likely to get the flu, despite being vaccinated, as those who were slimmer 2.

Can rapid weight loss help?

Yes! Research by Prof Roy Taylor at Newcastle University has shown that losing weight rapidly is far easier than a long drawn out attempt to cut down slightly. His research has shown diets like The Fast 800 is an effective way to reverse type 2 diabetes, and if you can keep the weight off, his study shows your insulin producing cells gradually return to normal, which means as long as you don’t regain that weight, you will remain diabetes free 3.

The Fast 800 is a tried and trusted method of rapid and effective weight loss, and the emphasis on the Mediterranean Diet ensures you will be getting all the nutrients your body needs as it slims, which means your immune system stays strong to fight the virus on your behalf.

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