Dieting increases chance of catching flu

Calorie-counting can lead to flu

Are you dieting this New Year after all the usual Christmas over-indulging? Thought so, so are we – but be warned, all that calorie-counting could impair your body’s ability to fight off the flu, a study has found.

US researchers found that mice that were put on a calorie-controlled diet found it harder to stave off the infection than mice who were on a normal diet.

The team at Michigan State University found that not only were the dieting mice more likely to die, they 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 Professor Elizabeth Gardner, who conducted the research.

The latest flu statistics from England and Wales show that cases are up 73% on last year and experts are blaming the unusually cold weather for the increase.

Professor John Oxford, an influenza expert at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, advised, ‘common sense should prevail at this time of year.’

‘There are a lot of viruses and while it might have been better to avoid those extra helpings of Christmas pudding in the first place, now is not the time to be thinking about diets.’  

It sounds like a good enough excuse for us….pass the chocolates!

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