Millions of arthritis sufferers could find relief from the agonising pain by following a simple diet, new research suggests.
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A study by scientists in Denmark reportedly showed that an easy-to-follow, low-calorie, high-protein diet may help to ease the symptoms of this crippling condition.
However, the diet itself could be considered controversial, since it consists of just 440 calories a day - a far cry from the recommended 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women.
Researchers from Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen put the volunteers on a strictly controlled diet, with each participant limited to special shakes, soups, bars and porridge along with mineral and vitamin supplements for key nutrients.
Though the patients lost large amounts of far there was no reduction in bone density and research leader Professor Henning Bliddal called the results a 'revelation'.
After 16 weeks on the low-calorie diet, the volunteers reported significant improvement in their pain levels.
Professor Bliddal wrote in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "It was a fantastic surprise that patients with little or no mobility could lost that amount.
"Thanks to the diet they were able to reduce their dependence on painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs."
Prof Bliddal did, however, warn that the diet was not a long-term solution due to its extremely low-calorie intake, but suggested that a sensible diet plan following the initial period would still benefit sufferers, and his report claims even a little weight loss could see significant improvement in terms of pain.
Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, told the Daily Express: "Research shows that losing weight, however modest, when combined with exercise, is a panacea at every stage.
"A healthy weight reduces the risk of developing the disease, relieves existing symptoms and helps to prevent further deterioration. Weight loss and exercise has been shown to achieve the same level of symptom relief as joint replacement surgery."
Are you an arthritis sufferer? Have you found weight loss reduced your pain levels? Leave your comments below...