Does Sugar and Fat Cause Osteoarthritis?

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Does Sugar and Fat Cause Osteoarthritis?

Recent research suggests that dietary fat and sugar can accelerate osteoarthritic change.  The study, published in Scientific Reports, was conducted by a team of researchers from Australia.   They studied the effects on joints of diets rich in a variety of saturated fatty acids found in such foods as butter, coconut oil, palm oil and animal fat, and simple carbohydrates – a high-fat, high carbohydrate diet common to “junk food”.

“Our findings suggest that it’s not wear and tear but diet that has a lot to do with the onset of osteoarthritis,” researcher Professor Yin Xiao said.

“The main function of cartilage is to seal the bone ends in a joint and absorb pressure on the bones during weight-bearing movement such as walking.

“We found that a diet containing simple carbohydrates together with 20 per cent saturated fats produced osteoarthritic-like changes in the knee.

“Saturated fatty acid deposits in the cartilage change its metabolism and weaken the cartilage, making it more prone to damage. This would, in turn, lead to osteoarthritic pain from the loss of the cushioning effect of cartilage.

“We also found changes in the bone under the cartilage on a diet rich in saturated fat.”

PhD student Sunder Sekar said the team tested lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil.

“Interestingly, when we replaced the meat fat in the diet with lauric acid we found decreased signs of cartilage deterioration and metabolic syndrome so it seems to have a protective effect,” Mr Sekar said.

He said fatty acids could cause tissue inflammation in the entire “joint environment”.

While osteoarthritis had been previously linked mostly to genetic and mechanical factors, this research confirms an important role for diet in osteoarthritis prevention and management.

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep46457

 

 

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