Dietitians and Arthritis

May 2021

Is there a diet for arthritis?

Unfortunately, no diet has been proven by research to cure arthritis. There is also very little proof that specific foods have an effect on arthritis.

Some people with arthritis report improvements after avoiding certain foods. However, arthritis symptoms usually vary day to day, which makes it hard to know if a change in symptoms is because of a particular change in food or just coincidence.

The best diet for arthritis is a healthy, balanced one which helps us to maintain a healthy weight, look after our general health, and to prevent other medical problems.

What is a healthy diet?

In Australia, the Australian Dietary Guidelines provide up-to-date advice about the amount and kinds of foods that we need to eat for health and wellbeing. 

Following the dietary patterns recommended in the Guidelines, helps us to ensure we get enough of the nutrients our body needs for good health. It also helps us to reduce our risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and obesity.


What do dietitians do?

Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition. They provide advice about healthy eating, weight loss and diets for medical conditions, such as diabetes.

They work in a range of settings including hospitals, community health clinics, and private clinics. 

Dietitians are trained to translate scientific nutrition information into practical advice. This means they can help to improve our understanding of the ways different foods affect our health. They can also help us identify the changes we can make to our diet to improve health and wellbeing, making sure these changes 

Do I need to see a dietitian?

Not everyone with arthritis will need to see a dietitian. However, a dietitian may be of help to some people with arthritis if they: 

  • Need dietary advice and support to make healthier food choices
  • Need dietary advice and support to help with weight loss or weight gain - Extra body weight increases the stress on many joints, particularly the knees, hips and lower back. If you are overweight, losing weight helps to decrease the stress on joints and reduce pain.
  • Have, or are at risk of, another health condition which requires specific dietary recommendations - Many people living with arthritis often also have one or more other chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, coeliac disease, etc.


Finding a dietitian

Dietitians work in both public and private health systems and fall into the group of health professionals called 'allied health professionals'. To see an allied health professionals, speak to your GP about organising a GP Management Plan.

GP management plans (GPMP) and team care arrangements (TCA) can help people with a chronic health condition to access needed care from a range of allied health professionals.

To find a dietitian you can search the Dietitians Australia Find an Accredited Practising Dietitian search engine to help you find one in your area. 


More information on diet and arthritis


References:
Healthy eating and arthritis information sheet (2017). Arthritis Australia
The Guidelines - Eat for Health(2020). Australian Government, NHMRC
Why choose an Accredited Practising Dietitian. Dietitians Australia

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