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 Wednesday, 1 January, 2003, 11:50 GMT
Warning over 'faddy diet' arthritis cure
Arthritic hands
A healthy diet can help ease arthritis
Arthritis sufferers are being warned that drastic and faddy dieting will not "cure" their condition.

And that starting the New Year with a healthy and balanced diet will be better than looking for a wonder cure.

Experts are increasingly concerned at claims that arthritis can be tackled by simply switching to a specific diet.

Fergus Logan, chief executive at the Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC), said there was no "quick fix" cure for arthritis.

"People with arthritis desperately want to help themselves by finding a diet that suits them but there is simply no quick fix, miracle diet that will cure arthritis.

Healthy

"If there was, we would be shouting it from the roof-tops. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and at least two portions of oily fish a week is beneficial, but our common-sense advice is that people should expect minor improvements rather than a miracle.

"A lot of excessive claims are made in the media and in magazines and books about the latest wonder food or fad but there is very little real evidence to back them up."

Common fallacies include the myths that citrus fruits; tomatoes; aubergines and red peppers cause arthritis - but Mr Logan said there is no evidence for this.

There is simply no quick fix, miracle diet that will cure arthritis

Fergus Logan, of Arthritis Research Campaign

"Lots of people tell us how a particular diet or cutting out certain foods - such as cutting out red wine, sugar and chocolate, eating gin and prunes for example - has helped their arthritis.

"The problems is that what works for one person doesn't work for someone else.

"And we need to take into account the power of the placebo - mind over matter."

Recommend

Mr Logan said that the one proven dietary way to help ease arthritis was to eat a healthier diet and lose weight.

According to experts, around a quarter of all cases of knee osteoarthritis could be prevented if obesity was eliminated.

Mr Logan said: "As well as losing weight, people with arthritis should reduce the amount of sugar and fat in their diet, eat more fruit and vegetables, take plenty of calcium and iron-enriched food, and try replacing meat with oily fish.

"It might not be headline-grabbing stuff, but at least these recommendations are based on evidence-based research, and therefore should actually help."

ARC is currently funding a major clinical trial in Nottingham to see whether a combination of weight loss and exercise could help reduce knee pain in overweight people.

See also:

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