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Why is my Rheumatologist referring me to the Dietitian?

Why is my Rheumatologist referring me to the Dietitian?

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Working in a clinic with Rheumatologists, many of my clients are referred by our fantastic team. I am often asked, ‘but how can diet help my condition, I already eat healthily!’
This is often true, especially for those of you who are suffering from an inflammatory condition.
The key areas where diet can help?
1. Weightloss, particularly in osteoarthritis. The research shows that even a 5% loss of body weight can help reduce pain.
2. The ‘Anti-inflammatory diet’. This way of eating includes many fruits and vegetables, vegetable and fish protein, nuts, mushrooms, particular herbs and spices and some treats. It is generally a healthy way of eating. This is a relatively new area of research, but is one that is looking promising, and I can say without a doubt, those clients who do undertake it, the majority see definite improvement.
3. Low chemical elimination diet. Dependent on symptoms, I will usually incorporate this into the clients plan if I notice their intake is high in any particular chemicals which are naturally found in food. These are found in many of the foods we eat to be ‘healthy’, they’re not ‘bad’, just some people tolerate them less well. And some people with inflammatory arthritis find they benefit from reducing their intake of these foods.
4. Food choices for gout. I did a blog awhile ago now about gout and cherries. Besides this, there is many significant dietary changes which can be made to improve it.
My favourite part of working in this area? The fantastic benefit diet can have in relieving some of the pain my clients are experiencing, and the fact that this sub-group of patients is so open to the idea of trying something different.
So, next time your Rheumo suggests you see the dietitian, jump at the chance… and if they haven’t suggested it yet, ask if there is someone they recommend, doing so may help you more than you expected!

Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you'd like our help in managing diet-related health issues.

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