Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago, there is still much we don’t know about the disease. We don’t know why some people have long-lasting side effects after contracting it. We don’t know why it can react differently in certain people.
However, one effect that has been noted with COVID-19 is that it can cause weight loss.
How COVID causes weight loss
Those with mild cases of COVID-19 are unlikely to see weight loss; however, the most severe cases — those that result in hospitalization — may experience an extreme drop in weight. However, those who recover are likely to regain the weight they lost.
There are many different factors that cause weight loss in people who have been diagnosed with severe cases of COVID, such as:
Malnutrition is something that is seen quite often in COVID-19 patients. This is typically due to a lack of appetite. It’s common to not have much of an appetite after recovering from certain illnesses, including COVID-19. To counteract a reduced appetite, you should eat food that’s high in protein. Even if you’re trying to shed a few pounds, it’s not a good idea to do that while you’re still recovering from COVID-19.
In the case you’re not struggling with a lack of appetite, continue to eat a diet that is healthy and balanced. Such a diet should include:
- Whole grains
Although not being active can lead to a gain in weight, it can sometimes lead to weight loss. Those with severe cases of COVID-19 that require patients to be bedridden or hospitalized may find that they have lost muscle. Because muscle weighs more than fat, they will notice a greater drop in weight. Combine the lack of activity with malnutrition, and you’ll likely see a significant weight loss.
Patients with the most severe cases of COVID-19 are often put on ventilators, which are inserted as a tube through the mouth. Because of the tube’s location, COVID-19 patients cannot eat as they normally would. Instead, they’re fed a liquid diet through a feeding tube, which typically has fewer calories than what you normally eat. And when you’re sick (with COVID-19 or anything else), your body needs more nutrition than it normally would because it’s fighting off inflammation or infections.
Risks of COVID while overweight
By no means do we recommend trying to catch COVID in order to lose weight.
If you are overweight or obese, you are at much higher risk for COVID-related complications and even death. In fact, the CDC found that patients who are obese, diabetic, or have conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol levels, and sleep apnea, are 6 times more likely to be hospitalized, 5 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU, and 12 more times likely to die than patients who don’t have any of these health conditions.
Cardiovascular disease in particular is incredibly dangerous on top of a COVID-19 diagnosis, as the blood vessels that are already struggling to get blood to flow throughout the body are going to struggle even more, especially when being hooked up to a ventilator. This can complicate recovery. Not only that, but medical professionals may have difficulty moving heavier patients to positions that can help them get more oxygen.
Protect yourself from COVID
Protect yourself and others by wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth in public spaces (that is, whenever you leave the house), keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others, and washing your hands regularly and thoroughly.
Learn more about weight loss through Lifelong Metabolic Center
The Lifelong Metabolic Center, located in Naperville, Illinois, is here to help you on your weight loss journey — with or without the pandemic, thanks to our personalized remote weight loss program. We work with you, encouraging you to meet your goals and keep the pounds off.