Did you see the new study that’s suggesting a low fat diet could help those of us living with MS better manage fatigue?
It caught my attention and given that it contradicts the Wahls Protocol, I needed to understand what it was all about.
Is there truth to it?
The research came out of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and suggests that a low-fat diet could significantly help those of us living with multiple sclerosis (MS) reduce fatigue.
This is something that OHSU has been investigating for years.
The research was led by Dr. Yadav, a neurology professor at OHSU and director of the OHSU Multiple Sclerosis Center, and was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.
The focus is in the right place because we can all say first hand fatigue is one of the most common and frustrating symptoms of living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Managing MS Fatigue
Fatigue is not just a matter of being tired and taking a nap or even getting a good night’s rest.
It’s all consuming and it often comes with a feeling of weakness.
And doctors unfortunately have very little to offer when it comes to relief.
But as a Nutrition Coach specializing in Multiple Sclerosis, I can say, fatigue is often one of the first symptoms that my clients experience relief from after changing their diet.
They say things like, I didn’t know how bad I felt until I started feeling this good.
Or I didn’t realize that I could feel this way again!
It feels like freedom when the fatigue lifts.
So naturally food is a hot topic when we’re looking for ways to manage MS fatigue.
We’ve been hearing through the Wahls Protocol and Autoimmune Protocol that including high quality fats in our diet is a good thing.
So what’s the deal with this study contradicting that?
About the Study
Well, in the study, 39 MS patients experiencing fatigue were divided into two groups. The first group was 20 individuals who received nutrition counseling and followed a low-fat diet for 16 weeks. They had blood tests that confirmed their reduced calorie intake.
The second group was of 19 people who continued with their regular diet and received diet training at the end of the study.
The low-fat diet wasn’t strictly plant-based; it included meat because part of their objective is to test a more inclusive low-fat diet.
The impact on fatigue was measured using the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, with participants answering questions every four weeks about their ability to concentrate, pay attention, and perform routine physical activities.
Results showed that the group on the low-fat diet reported a significant reduction in fatigue compared to the control group.
This finding aligns with their previous studies – suggesting that a low-fat diet can effectively reduce fatigue in MS patients without having to adopt a vegan diet – because again, they’re trying to promote a more inclusive low fat diet.
My Personal Thoughts
I’m not a researcher, scientist or doctor, so they’re above my payscale. However, I am a nutrition coach, specializing in MS and living with MS firsthand.
And through all my training – including getting certified in the Wahls Protocol and the Autoimmune Protocol – I believe that high-quality fats are important for those of us living with MS.
The brain is largely made up of fats.
Good fats help us to maintain brain health, and given that MS is a condition that affects the brain and nerves, these fats can be especially beneficial.
Every cell in our body has a layer made of fats.
High-quality fats help keep these cell layers healthy, which is crucial for cells to function properly.
In MS, where cell function can be disrupted, these fats can play a supportive role.
Fats are a rich source of energy.
For people with MS, who often experience fatigue, having a steady, slow-burning source of energy from good fats can be helpful.
Some types of high-quality fats, like omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, can help reduce inflammation.
Since MS involves inflammation in the nervous system, eating these kinds of fats might help manage some of the symptoms.
Fats help us to absorb certain vitamins (like A, D, E, and K), which are important for immune function, bone health, and more.
That’s why Dr. Wahls views high-quality fats as crucial in
- Supporting overall brain and cell health,
- Providing energy,
- Reducing inflammation, and
- Aiding in the absorption of vital nutrients
All of these factors are particularly important for individuals managing MS.
So as always, I encourage you to decide which works best for you, but I guess you can tell which camp I’m in.
Because again, I experience firsthand and see it in my clients as well.
- Fewer cravings
- More stable energy
- Feeling more satisfied
So decide for yourself, but me personally, I’m staying the course with high quality fats in my diet including – salmon, avocados, olive oil, coconut milk and coconut oil, and if you tolerate nuts and seeds, they’re great sources too.