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Fat Intake Increases Risk of Children with MS Having a Relapse

October 12, 2017

Diet can play an important role in whether children with relapsing multiple sclerosis have a relapse, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco argue.
Their study demonstrated that a diet with a lot of fat increases the risk of a youngster having a relapse by 56 percent, with saturated fat tripling the risk. Eating a lot of vegetables, on the other hand, cuts the risk in half, the team said.

The study, “Contribution of dietary intake to relapse rate in early pediatric multiple sclerosis,” was published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Since children with MS tend to have relapses more often than adults, the researchers figured they would be a suitable group to study diet’s impact on relapse. They recruited 219 children with relapsing-remitting MS or clinically isolated syndrome from 11 centers across the U.S. Clinically isolated syndrome is a condition that can evolve in MS.

The research team use a questionnaire known as the Block Kids Food Screener to analyze what the youngsters ate.
They tracked the children an average of almost two years, which was plenty of time for relapses to occur. And, in fact, they did occur in 42.5 percent of the group.

It turned out that fat had a particularly devastating effect on the youngsters’ relapse rate. For every 10 percent increase in energy intake that came from fat, there was a 56 percent increase in the children’s risk of having a relapse.

Saturated fats were the biggest driver of risk. When researchers look only at these fats, they discovered that the risk more than tripled. Examples of saturated fats include processed meats such as sausages, ham, and burgers, butter, hard cheeses, and whole milk.