Osteoarthritis is the commonest form of arthritis among all the older generations in the U.S.
Knee osteoarthritis more specifically affects almost 10 percent of the men and 13 percent of the women above 60. As per some estimates, this problem affects almost 40 percent of the people over 70 years of age.
There is currently no cure for this condition which may cause joint stiffness, swelling, and pain.
Doctors usually prescribe pain relievers like acetaminophen, NSAIDs, or opioids to alleviate the symptoms. Another option to get rid of it is knee replacement surgery.
However, most of these treatments either come with many unwanted side effects or are extremely invasive.
A recent study which was a randomized controlled trial compared the efficiency of two diets i.e. the one low in fat and the one low in carbs in the treatment of this disease.
The Benefits of a Low-carb Diet
The researchers set out to check the benefits of low-fat and low-carb diets in 21 adults between the ages of 65 to 75 years suffering from osteoarthritis. The participants were instructed to follow either one of the two diets for a time duration of 12 weeks.
After every 3 weeks, the researchers checked for the functional pain in the participants i.e. the pain linked with daily tasks. They also encouraged the participants to report back with their quality of life, depression level, and self-reported pain.
The investigators also checked for the oxidative stress in the participants both at the starting and the beginning of the study. Oxidative stress refers to a chemical imbalance between the generation of free radicals as well as the antioxidant properties of the body.
The oxidative stress is considered to be a marker that indicates biological aging. In this study, lower oxidative stress was found to be linked with lesser functional pain.
The researchers also found that consuming a low-carb diet decreased the levels of functional as well as self-reported pain. The benefits were considerably noticeable as compared to the low-fat diets and regular food consumption.
Finally, the participants sticking to a low-carb diet was found to show a lesser level of oxidative stress and the amount of adipokine leptin i.e. a hormone that plays an important role in metabolism.
The Reduction of Pain
The study has shown that people may reduce their pain by changing their diet as per the lead author of the study. A lot of medicines directed against pain may cause side effects that may require you to take other drugs. The beneficial side effects of the diet, on the other hand, maybe things like a reduction in the risk of diabetes and heart problems and weight loss. This is something that the drugs cannot claim.
Therefore, diet is an excellent way to decrease the use of pain relievers and improving general health.
Diet is never going to cure pain but it can definitely reduce it to a point that it no longer interferes with the daily activities.
Among the people consuming meat, some excellent low-carb options include lean meats like chicken breasts, sirloin, and pork. Eggs, fish, and leafy greens like spinach and kale are also good options.
Other low-carb options include broccoli, seeds, nuts, nut butter, cauliflower, dairy products, and olive oil. For those who tend to avoid animal products altogether, some great options are tempeh and tofu.