Live and Let Diet: What Hurts and What Helps

What we eat on a regular basis can contribute to various conditions.  A major way diet impacts health is the case of obesity, diabetes and related diseases. Here we look at other dietary patterns that can cause problems. Learn which dietary patterns contribute to conditions, and what can help:

  • Diets high in sugar and white starch increase the risk of Crohn’s disease, another type of inflammatory bowel disease.

 What Can Help:  For people who already have Crohn’s disease, a high protein, low carbohydrate diet can improve long-term outcome.

  • High protein diets may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. In addition, the medication taken for Parkinson’s disease tends to work better when people avoid animal protein.

What Can Help:  Drinking coffee (but not decaf) may decrease the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (and also decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes). People with Parkinson’s disease may also need extra fat in their diets.

  • Diets high in animal flesh (red meat, poultry and seafood) can increase the risk of developing gout.

What Can Help: Control of gout once it develops may be easier if animal flesh is avoided. Eating cherries and drinking concentrated cherry juice can decrease the risk of gout.

  • A variety of different conditions are adversely affected by eating food with added sugar (either sucrose or high fructose corn syrup). These include diabetes and its many complications, Meniere’s syndrome, hypoglycemia, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, vaginal yeast infections, fatty liver disease.

What Can Help:  Avoiding foods with added sugar and corn syrup.  Eating whole, unprocessed foods.

  • About 3 million Americans have celiac disease, a genetic disorder that causes intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat (including white flour products), barley and rye. Celiac disease can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, neurological and psychiatric problems, osteoporosis, skin rashes, and joint pain and can trigger a variety of autoimmune disorders and some cancers. Most people don’t know they have celiac disease until they’re specifically tested for it.

What Can Help:  It is essential for people with celiac disease to follow a strict gluten-free diet for life.

Intolerance or allergy to specific foods may trigger numerous disorders. These include:

  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Hives
  • Canker sores
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Vulvar pain (vulvodynia, vulvar vestibulitis syndrome)
  • Infantile Colic
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Colitis and ileitis
  • Autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s syndrome and some cases of lupus
  • Protein-losing enteropathy
  • Failure to thrive
  • Migraine headaches
  • Epilepsy
  • Attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Mood swings
  • Fever of unknown origin
  • Sinusitis
  • Type 1 diabetes

What Can Help: Identifying those foods that trigger allergies and eliminating them from the diet may have dramatic effects in reversing a wide range of conditions.