As coronavirus spreads throughout the globe, so does a big sense of uncertainty. And during these uncertain times, it’s tempting to make unhealthy eating choices. Nearly 75% of people say they are concerned about their ability to keep up their healthy habits right now, according to a Thrive Global survey of 5,000 respondents around coronavirus pain points. And when we’re stress-eating to cope, it’s especially easy to go overboard on sugar. 

What many people may not realize, though, is that there’s a connection between sugar and immunity, and cutting down on the sweet stuff can help keep our immune response stronger. For instance, avoiding sugar can help us reduce chronic inflammation, which contributes to the conditions that put us at greater risk for viral infections.

Being mindful of what ends up on our plate has benefits beyond keeping us as healthy as possible; it can also give us a sense of control. After all, so much of what’s happening right now is out of our hands. It’s empowering to focus on the parts of our immunity and resilience that are within our control — such as prioritizing sleep, managing stress, and, yes, making better food choices.

If you’d like to try cutting back on sugar but aren’t sure where to start, the good news is that you can start small — smaller than you think. You could try these two tips to get started:

Try swapping one sugary drink a day with water. Cutting down on sugar can strengthen your immune system — and water will fuel your body and mind.

Swap a sugary comfort food for a better choice. Pick a choice with less sugar that still satisfies, like yogurt instead of ice cream.


  • Alexandra Hayes

    Content Director, Product & Brand, at Thrive

    Alexandra Hayes is a Content Director, Product & Brand, at Thrive. Prior to joining Thrive, she was a middle school reading teacher in Canarsie, Brooklyn.