Knee osteoarthritis is a condition affecting the knee joints due to wear and tear and it is usually seen in people above 50 years of age. In the condition, the cartilage in the knee slowly wears away, causing extreme pain and difficulty in walking. Although the condition cannot be cured, it can be managed through medication and physiotherapy. A number of studies have also looked at the role of diet and nutrition in reducing osteoarthritis pain and a recent study has indicated that following a diet low in carbohydrates may help. A low-carb diet removes foods like starchy grains and processed grains from the diet and focuses on foods rich in proteins and fats. Compared to low-fat and regular diets, the study found low-carb diets to be more effective in reducing functional and self-reported pain in KOA patients.
The results of the study were published in the journal Pain Medicine. The study report is titled, "The Effect of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets on Pain in Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis" and it looked at KOA patients in the age group of 65 to 75 years. The participants were asked to follow one of the three types of diets: a low-carb diet, a low-fat diet or regular diets, for a period of 12 weeks. The researchers looked at signs of oxidative stress which was meant to indicate functional pain in the participants. The results were telling.
Low carb diets (LCD) were shown to reduce pain intensity and unpleasantness while performing functional tasks, as compared to Low fat diets (LFD) and regular diet or control group diet (CTRL). The journal report said, "The LCD also significantly reduced oxidative stress and the adipokine leptin compared with the LFD and CTRL. Reduction in oxidative stress was related to reduced functional pain." It concluded by saying, "We present evidence suggesting that oxidative stress may be related to functional pain, and lowering it through our LCD intervention could provide relief from pain and be an opioid alternative."