In 2022, EULAR – the European Alliance of Rheumatology Associations – published new recommendations regarding lifestyle behaviors and work participation to prevent the progression of rheumatic and musculoskeletal (RMD) diseases. Along with these recommendations, the company has also made public the evidence gathered and the supporting analysis – including looking specifically at the impact of diet.
People’s diet can influence their well-being, with known impacts on many bodily systems such as cardiovascular and mental health. However, it was previously unclear whether dietary factors influenced RMD-specific outcomes, and what knowledge was primarily focused on OA and RA, rather than people across the full spectrum of RMD.
A task force was set up to review the evidence for six key lifestyle factors – diet, exercise, weight, alcohol, smoking and paid work – in people with one of the seven MMRs (spondyloarthritis axial disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, gout, and osteo-, rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis). This study was performed according to EULAR standard operating procedure and is reported according to PRISMA guidelines.
Although a number of food components were identified as having a low impact, none had a high impact in any of the RMDs studied. Therefore, based on current evidence, there is no single dietary intervention that has substantial benefits, and no consistent evidence that any dietary exposure significantly improves outcomes in these conditions.
This EULAR article is important because it suggests that healthcare professionals can inform people with RMD that the consumption of specific food components is unlikely to influence the progression of their disease. However, it is still important to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy weight for general health reasons.
European Alliance of Rheumatology Associations, EULAR
Gwinnutt, JM, et al. (2022) Effects of diet on rheumatic and musculoskeletal (RMD) disease outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analyses informing EULAR 2021 recommendations for lifestyle improvement for people with MMR. RMD open. doi.org/10.1136/rmdopen-2021-002167.