New Year, New You, New Flu

Considering how many people who have New Year's resolutions to lose weight, there's something else they might lose: a super-healthy immune system. New research has found that dieters are less able to fight off the influenza virus. A news article from the BBC said that

The team at Michigan State University found even though the mice on the lower calorie diet received adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, their bodies were still not able to produce the number of killer cells needed to fight an infection.

As well as being more likely to die from the virus, the mice - which were consuming around 40% of the calories given to their counterparts on a normal diet - took longer to recover, lost more weight and displayed other symptoms of poor health.

"Our research shows that having a body ready to fight a virus will lead to a faster recovery and less-severe effects than if it is calorically restricted," said study author Professor Elizabeth Gardner.

As fillyjonk over at Shapely Prose noted (h/t to her for posting the original BBC story), you don't get to chose where you restrict calories from. You can't just pick your arms or your ass- in fact, the needed calories are just as likely to come from your heart, your liver, or your immune system. Yes, your butt might shrink. And so might your brain. Your body ain't picky.

Dieting is starving your body. Period. And your body doesn't like that and can communicate it in the form of a decreased abilityto fight influenza. Payback's a bitch, huh?

Does anyone else find it interesting that this story wasn't plastered all over the internet like practically every other dieting story out there? I'm not surprised.

posted under , , |


Cammy said...

Amen. When I had a major relapse in summer 2007 it seemed like all I had to do was read about a virus or bug and I would come down with it. Also, one thing I have noticed as I've made some progress in recovery is that I heal so much faster. When I am at ultra-low weight, even a scratch or nick that barely bleeds will hang around forever and eventually leave a scar.

Aj said...

i mnot surprised either..

Carrie Arnold said...

Blech- I jinxed myself by writing this. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and stuffy nose. At least it's not the flu...

Charlynn said...

You're absolutely right about the immune system taking a hit with food deprivation. I got sick much more frequently when I was eating disordered, and the severity was much worse, too.

Feel better soon!

Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home

ED Bites on Facebook!

ED Bites is on Twitter!

Search ED Bites

About Me

My photo
I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

Drop me a line!

Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at

nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


Popular Posts


Recent Comments