Before you take another bite of that convenient fast food meal, consider how it affects your osteoarthritis (OA). Research shows that diets high in saturated fat – found in red meat, butter, cheese, lard and processed foods – can weaken knee cartilage, making it more prone to damage.
A 2017 study published in Arthritis Care & Research, researchers followed more than 2,000 patients with OA for up to four years, checking disease progression and diet at yearly intervals. Participants who ate the most fat, especially the saturated kind, showed increasing joint damage, whereas those who ate healthy fats like olive oil and avocados had little disease progression. Another recent animal study showed that it even may harm the underlying bone, according to Yin Xiao, PhD, a professor at Queensland University of Technology in Australia and lead author of a 2017 study that looked at the effect of diet on OA.
“Our findings suggest that it’s not wear and tear but diet that has a lot to do with the onset of osteoarthritis,” he says.