One of the most popular myths I hear from my patients is that eating golden raisins soaked in gin will cure arthritis. There is no good research to support this notion. Save your money.
A recent popular diet, the Dong diet, advocates the elimination of fruits, red meats, and dairy foods. Not only is there no scientific evidence to support this diet but there may be potential harm. By eliminating so many potentially nutritious foods, there is the danger of causing a deficiency of important nutrients. Elimination diets though, have their supporters and selective elimination under the strict supervision of a registered dietician may be something to explore if you're absolutely convinced your symptoms are food-related.
Another diet advocates the removal of dairy products. There are some who claim that dairy products make arthritis worse. The concern here is that total purging of dairy foods can lead to severe calcium deficiency and subsequent weakening of bones.
For years, there has been a myth that states the elimination of nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers will cure arthritis. The theory is that these plants produce a harmful toxin that causes arthritis. To date there is no scientific data indicating that these foods produce the supposed destructive ingredient that is responsible for inducing arthritis. Nightshade vegetables actually are low-calorie and contain important nutrients that might help arthritis sufferers.
Another popular "tonic" is the combination of vinegar and honey. Again, no reliable concrete evidence backs this as a "cure" for arthritis.
The advice: Thoroughly check out any story you hear. Don't be fooled. Talk with a reputable rheumatologist and dietician before embarking on a food "experiment."
Dr. Wei (pronounced "way") is a board-certified rheumatologist and Clinical Director of the nationally respected Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and has served as a consultant to the Arthritis Branch of the National Institutes of Health. He is a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology and the American College of Physicians.