New York: Following a plant-based low fat diet may help people who suffer from fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), research says.
"This study showed the low-fat diet might offer some promising help with the fatigue that often comes with MS,” said Dennis Bourdette, chair of department of neurology, Oregon Health & Science University.
MS is an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged, disrupting the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in physical, mental and sometimes psychiatric problems.
The study investigated the effects of following a diet called the McDougall Diet, devised by John McDougall.
The diet is partly based on an MS-fighting diet developed in the 1940s and 1950s by the late Roy Swank, a former head of the division of neurology at OHSU.
The McDougall diet, very low in saturated fat, focuses on eating starches, fruits and vegetables and does not include meat, fish or dairy products.
The study, which began in 2008, looked at the diet's effect on the most common form of MS, called relapsing-remitting MS.
The study measured indicators of MS among a group of people who followed the McDougall Diet for 12 months and a control group that did not.
People who followed the diet did lose significantly more weight than the control group and had significantly lower cholesterol levels.
People who followed the diet also had higher scores on a questionnaire that measured their quality of life and overall mood.