A plethora of research and empiric observation supported the claim that–among other symptoms–diseases often affect the ability to smell and the sense of taste, possibly affecting the taste- and food preferences as well.
The aim of the present study was to shed light on the impact of COVID-related smell- (dysosmia/anosmia) and taste function-disorder/loss (dysgeusia/ageusia) on the food and taste preferences COVID-19 patients of different symptomatic and pre-existing conditions and demographic backgrounds.
The research based on a descriptive, cross-sectional survey. In total, 514 participants filled our self-administered online questionnaire. Thirteen participants were excluded according to the exclusion criteria. Descriptive statistics, Chi-square test, t-test for correlation coefficient, were performed.
The most common long COVID symptom was fatigue/weakness (53.1%) followed by anosmia (50.9%) and tachycardia (33.5%). Many participants reported dysgeusia/ageusia during the acute phase of the disease, which sometimes prevailed as a long COVID symptom. A high percentage of participants reported that they rejected all kinds of meat of animal origin except cold cuts for their duration of recuperation, which proved to be the most common dietary change during the post-COVID period so far.
Several misconceptions exist about foods and nutrition. Many believe, that the human body can “acidify”, thus, an “alkaline diet” should be followed. The acid-base balance is a characteristic of a normally functioning human body. Throughout our metabolic processes, acids and substances with acidic pH are produced continuously, which, in the case of a healthy person, does not affect the pH of the human body. In those rare cases, when an overall pH imbalance evolves in the human body due to its life-threatening nature, it requires urgent medical intervention. Furthermore, it cannot be influenced by dietary interventions.
This paper highlights evidence regarding acidification and the acid-base balance, with special attention to certain food groups. Foodstuffs have different specific pH value (acid-base character), they can be acidic, alkaline, or neutral in elemental state. Beside their chemical nature, the effect they have on the human body depends on the mechanism of their metabolism, as well. Diet and ingredients have direct and indirect effects on the human body's intracellular and extracellular compartments (especially blood and urine), still they do not influence its pH significantly.
Alkaline diets were born in the absence of evidence-based information and/or the misunderstanding and wrong interpretation of the available and up-to-date scientific facts. The convictions of consumers and the promotion of the alkaline diet lack the scientific basis, so it can be harmful or even dangerous in the long run.
In summary, scientific evidence on the efficacy or prophylactic effects of an alkaline diet is not available.
It has been reported that some of the food additives may cause sensitization, inflammation of tissues, and potentially risk factors in the development of several chronic diseases. Thus, we hypothesized that expressions of common inflammatory molecules – known to be involved in the development of various inflammatory conditions and cancers – are affected by these food additives. We investigated the effects of commonly used food preservatives and artificial food colorants based on the expressions of NFκB, GADD45α, and MAPK8 (JNK1) from the tissues of liver. RNA was isolated based on Trizol protocol and the activation levels were compared between the treated and the control groups. Tartrazine alone could elicit effects on the expressions of NFκB (p = 0.013) and MAPK8 (p = 0.022). Azorubine also resulted in apoptosis according to MAPK8 expression (p = 0.009). Preservatives were anti-apoptotic in high dose. Sodium benzoate (from low to high doses) dose-dependently silenced MAPK8 expression (p = 0.004 to p = 0.002). Addition of the two preservatives together elicited significantly greater expression of MAPK8 at half-fold dose (p = 0.002) and at fivefold dose (p = 0.008). This study suggests that some of the food preservatives and colorants can contribute to the activation of inflammatory pathways.