24 Mar 2020
The British Dietetic Association (BDA), representing dietitians across the UK, call on the public and media to stop the spread of nutrition pseudoscience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
With many people sharing un-sourced ‘advice’ about miracle supplements and foods that prevent infection, dietitians at the BDA have created a comprehensive hub of evidence-based and fact-checked nutrition information relating to the coronavirus pandemic. They are updating it all the time and are keen to get it into the hands of as many people as possible.
Simply put, you cannot “boost” your immune system through diet, and no specific food or supplement will prevent you catching COVID-19 / Coronavirus. Although eating a well-balanced diet can help ensure the normal functioning of the immune system, not individual nutrient, food or supplement is going to “boost” it beyond normal levels. Good hygiene practice remains the best means of avoiding infection.
However, if you are self-isolating, especially if you have symptoms, it is important to maintain good nutrition and hydration. Make sure you are eating and drinking regularly, even if you have low appetite.
For people with specific nutrition needs, it is important to continue to follow the dietary recommendations made by your dietitian or other healthcare professional. This may involve asking friends or family members to get you specific foods so you can continue to follow an appropriate diet.
“People sharing unevidenced nutrition solutions to COVID-19 may increase the risk that someone doesn’t take proper hygiene and social distancing precautions. It’s vital that we stop spreading this misinformation.” Says Andy Burman, BDA CEO.
“Our dietitians, like all health care staff, are working tirelessly at the moment to support the growing number of COVID-19 hospital admissions. Proper nutrition can support improved outcomes for patients in ICU, where we know those COVID-19 patients with the most acute need will be.
“As our members are preparing with their colleagues to support the coronavirus effort in any way they can, including re-deployment into the areas where support is most needed, they are also working hard out of hours to make sure the public have access to good nutritional advice and guidance.
“In these extraordinary times, when it may be more difficult for people with less-serious conditions to access direct dietetic help, we want to reach as many people as we can. Our public advice is here to support anyone who does not need to go into hospital or work directly with a clinician.”
This growing hub can be found on the BDA website.
BDA Dietetic Spokespeople are also available for further comment about anything relating to diet and nutrition on the phone number below.