Does Calorie Restriction Benefit In Arthritis?

Arthritis, also called, joint inflammation is a disease of the joints. In arthritis, there is inflammation in and around the joints.

There are also different ways to treat arthritis like taking medications, exercising, following a healthy diet, protecting joints from further injury, and surgery.

The main aim of all these treatments is to improve the overall health of the patient and the function of the joints.

To attain the maximum benefits of the medications, it is important to ask the doctor the best way to take the medicines.

Sometimes the pain does not get better even after taking many medications; hence you can try some things like:-

  • Use an ice pack on the swollen area
  • Shower with warm water
  • Get proper rest
  • Exercise
  • Follow a strict diet to maintain body weight

What is the calorie restriction?

Calorie restriction is a strict diet that decreases the number of calories in the body without causing malnutrition or a decrease in the essential nutrients.

There is a different diet plan for everyone because everyone has a different body type.

Following a nutritious and a restricted diet helps us to be healthy and active and also increases our life span.

To investigate the beneficial effects of calorie restriction, many studies have been conducted for more than 80 years; however, a lot of awareness has occurred in the past 15 years with an increment in funding as well.

Following a calorie-restricted diet is a very good habit because it clears your body from all the toxins and also retards aging.

When calorie restriction was studied in patients, it was reported to have lowered the levels of glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

It improved the parameters of the body and prevented the occurrence of diseases.

In calorie restriction, the energy intake is reduced but the quantities of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients are maintained.

It is important for people to become aware of what their bodies require and how they should consume it.

Being healthy does not just mean eating less and being underweight. It is more about good nutrition.

People should make it a point to get nutrition from natural food sources than from supplements. Exercising also increases fitness and longevity.

What are the benefits of calorie restriction in arthritis?

Research proves that calorie restriction can benefit in various aspects of arthritis.

1. Calorie restriction leads to anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects

Diseases like arthritis are caused because of an active immune system which causes inflammation in the joints and other body parts.

There is an increase in the levels of pro-inflammatory compounds like IL-1, IL-6, TNF-alpha, cyclooxygenase enzyme, and nitric oxide.

If a CR diet is followed by arthritic or obese patients, then it lead to a reduction in inflammation.

The direct mechanism by which it happens is not known. Researchers are still unsure whether the reduction in pro-inflammatory compounds is because of a loss of adipose tissue mass (loss of adipose tissue reduces inflammation) or because of its impact on immune cells.

What does it mean? Considering obesity is one of the major causes of arthritis, a controlled diet will help in weight loss and also control the expression of enzymes and compounds that increase inflammation. This shows that calorie restriction is effective in reducing inflammation that is caused by obesity. By reducing inflammation, it controls pain as well.

2. Calorie restriction reduces oxidative stress

Calorie restriction has the ability to reduce oxidative stress that damages the DNA and causes an increase in pain and swelling.

In inflammation, there is an increase in the expression of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species.

These species increase oxidative stress. When a calorie restricted diet is followed, the anti-oxidative defense mechanisms are activated.

What does this mean? An increase in the oxidative stress is one of the characteristics of arthritis. Oxidative stress damages the DNA which causes inflammation. Following a calorie restricted diet helps in reducing oxidative stress by increasing the anti-oxidant activity.

3. Calorie restriction helps in weight loss

Obesity is one of the major causes of arthritis and heart problems. Obesity leads to a loss of muscle and strength, mechanical stress, and inflammation.

An increase in fat leads to an increase in the adipose tissue which causes inflammation in joints and tissues. This increase in mechanical stress leads to loss of cartilage which develops arthritis.

Obesity increases the expression of pro-inflammatory compounds like IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha. Calorie restriction decreases the expression of these compounds that lead to inflammation.

What does it mean? By inducing weight loss, calorie restriction becomes beneficial in improving the parameters that are raised during obesity. This means that calorie restriction has a positive effect in losing weight and reducing the symptoms of arthritis.

4. Calorie restriction improves arthritic symptoms

A lot of research has been conducted on the effectiveness of calorie restriction on arthritis.

When a restricted diet is taken, then a reduction in pain, swelling, and stiffness is observed.

To attain the maximum benefits of a calorie restricted diet, it is important to continue this diet for long periods.

In case of discontinuation, the beneficial effects get subsided.

The mechanism involves a reduction in the activity of the pro-inflammatory substances and an increase in the anti-inflammatory compounds.

A study published in Scandinavian journal of rheumatology reported if patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis fast and follow a vegetarian diet, then it can improve the symptoms of arthritis rather than patients who do not follow a vegetarian diet.

31 reports of fasting studies were tested and all of them showed a significant beneficial long term effect.

Another study was published in Acta dermato-Venereol in which 20 patients with arthritis and other skin diseases were made to fast for 2 weeks and then follow a vegetarian diet for another 3 weeks.

It was seen that during the fasting period, an improvement in the symptoms was observed in patients with arthritis.

There was a further enhancement in the lives of the people when they followed the vegetarian diet.

When you fast, the level and activity of CD4+ T Cell (important mediator of inflammation) are reduced which leads to an increase in the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-4 (promotes inflammation).

When there is an oxidative stress, the chances of developing arthritis also increase.

Following a vegetarian diet reduces the level of C-reactive protein which is a key indicator of inflammation. A study was published in which a reduction in pain, swelling, and stiffness was observed when the patients followed a vegan diet.

Hence if you fast regularly even if for shorter periods of time, then it will be easier for you to lose weight and improve arthritic symptoms.

What does it mean? All these studies show that calorie restriction has a positive effect in decreasing the progression of arthritis. A lot of research has been done on the effectiveness of a vegetarian diet after a fast in reducing inflammation. Hence it is important to follow the diet properly to reap the maximum effects.

Is calorie restriction effective in treating arthritis?

Calorie restriction is very important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and increasing life span. There are many people who take painkillers and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat arthritis.

However, the side effects of these drugs can be detrimental for health and sometimes can cause more problems.

Studies have been conducted which have successfully shown the relation between a controlled diet and inflammation.

There are some foods which have the tendency to reduce inflammation in arthritis. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a balanced diet which mostly includes vegetarian and plant-based food is effective for people suffering from arthritis.

A study was published in the Journal of Physiology Anthropology and Applied Human Science in which the relation between the level of a compound in urine and rheumatoid arthritis was tested.

The patients were on calorie restricted diet and then their urine compound level was checked on days 0, 25, and 54.

It was seen that level of the compound had not largely decreased on days 0 and 25; however, a significant reduction was seen on the 54th day.

In the end, a reduction the level of the compound, inflammation, mean body weight, and arthritic symptoms was observed.

How many calories should you consume to benefit in arthritis?

A calorie-restricted diet depends on several factors like age, gender, weight, height, activity level. Hence it is important to take calories according to your body and should consult a doctor.

When following a calorie restricted diet, women should consume 1000 calories and men should consume 1200 calories to lose weight healthily.


Considering you are limiting the amount of energy intake in your body, it is important to regularly monitor your blood/urine analysis, strength, balance, cognition tests, and basal metabolic rate.

If anything drops, then it is a sign to get yourself checked.

It is important to get a balanced diet and consume a healthy combination of nutrients. It will be easier to lose weight if you add food that you enjoy.

Sometimes people who are very obese follow a very low calorie and low energy diet that can be good for you.

But after a certain period of time, it can disturb your bodily functions and work against you.


If you want to lose weight and get the maximum benefits, your diet plan should tailor your goals and needs so that it does not seem unachievable.

According to some experts, losing weight can be a better way to decrease pain and inflammation than medicines.

Aging naturally causes wear and tear in joints, hips, knees; so being overweight can just worsen the condition.

By increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables will make it easier to lose weight as they keep you feel fuller for longer periods of time and help you consume lesser calories.

Also by avoiding consuming less than 800 calories per day unless recommended by your doctor, you will not starve yourself and impact your body negatively.

Being overweight is a major risk factor for arthritis. Hence by following a calorie restricted diet, you will shed those unwanted kilos and have a positive effect on bones.


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