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Knee Pain & Diet

Here's an interesting article showing the impact a low-carb diet has on knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis of the knee tends to progress as we age where the cartilage and underlying bone break down causing pain, stiffness and sometimes swelling. This is one of the most common forms of arthritis impacting 15% of the population.

A study published in Pain Medicine looked at two groups with knee osteoarthritis who were on two different diets for 12 weeks: low- carb diet and low fat diet. The study measured individuals' functional pain, self-reported pain, quality of life, level of depression and blood work measuring oxidative stress. The results: the low-carb diet (compared to low fat diet) reduced functional pain levels, levels of self-reported pain, less oxidative stress and lower levels of leptin (hormone which regulates hunger and fat storage). Reduction in oxidative stress was related to reduced functional pain.

Many refined carbs found in breads, cakes and processed foods spike insulin levels in the blood and can cause systemic inflammation in the body. Lowering the amount of carbohydrates in ones diet could provide relief from pain.

Strath, L, Jones, C, George, A, Lukens, S, Morrison, S, Soleymani, T, Locher, J, Gower, B, Sorge, R. 'The Effect of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets on Pain in Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis'. Pain Medicine. 13 March 2019: pnz022

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