There is a dizzying amount of information about diet and multiple sclerosis. It brings further confusion to an already confusing disease. But there are common themes in the research.
For many years were two approaches to MS diets. First, is the low-saturated fat diet. Researched and published by Dr. Roy Swank, in his book The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book, the low-fat approach grew out of the fact that rates of MS are highest in countries with the highest saturated fat consumption. Remove the fat, remove the MS. This approach has gained new merit with the book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis by Professor George Jelinek.
In a low-fat MS diet, saturated fat intake is limited to no more than 15 grams per day. Red meat is prohibited for one year to forever. Dairy products are either prohibited or limited to low and non-fat. Low-fat MS diets have been found to significantly reduce relapse rates for those that follow the guidelines.
Second, is the food allergy approach. As espoused by Ashton Embry and the book MS Recovery Diet, these diets recommend eliminating all potential allergens from the diet. This includes grains, dairy, legumes, eggs, and yeast. The theory is these foods trigger an immune response, which promotes MS activity. Turn off the immune response, turn off the MS.
A new approach, the Wahls Diet has arrived on the MS diet scene. Suffering from secondary progressive MS and in a wheelchair, Dr. Wahls adopted a paleo-like diet, supplemented by vegetables juices that got her out walking again. The Wahls diet recommends eating/drinking 9 cups of vegetables a day, 3 from dark leafy greens, 3 from sulfur rich vegetables and 3 from the other colors of the rainbow. The theory is our body has the power to heal itself, but only if we feed it the right micronutrients. Other permissible foods include nuts, organ meats and grass-fed meats. Grains are strongly discouraged and sugar and gluten are prohibited. If grains are consumed, she recommends ancient grains such as quinoa.
Bio-individuality determines whether a diet will work, regardless of your goal. For example, Atkins helps some lose weight, but not others. All these MS diets claim to work and there is evidence that they do for some. If one MS diet doesn’t work , don’t get discouraged. It can take time, especially if the disease has progressed. Or another diet may yield better results. For those wishing to slow, stop or reverse disease progression, select a diet plan you are most likely to follow.