No announcement yet.

Really confused about why the Swank diet would work...thoughts?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Really confused about why the Swank diet would work...thoughts?

    So I'm guessing most people on this forum probably don't know about the Swank diet, which was created by the neurologist Dr. Roy Swank in the 1940s. He found that when he put patients diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on a diet that was:

    *SUPER low in saturated fat diet (less than 15 grams daily)
    *SUPER low in polyunsaturated oils
    *SUPER low in red and other fatty meats
    * HIGH in grains, fruits and vegetables

    Close to 100% of the patients had no further symptoms of MS, as long as they adhered to the diet strictly.

    Some of this makes sense (at least the low poly oils, and increased veggies and maybe fruit), and is compatible with a primal/paleo way of eating. But the thing I can't quite understand is why the low saturated fat component on the diet (which is the cornerstone) would have such a drastically positive effect on the course of this autoimmune disease. I'd really love to hear some theories about this because it affects me personally-

    I had my first MS symptom about 4 years ago. One year later I eliminated gluten and dairy (still ate other grains, though, and never gave a second thought about fat if it was coming from sources like meat, olive oil, avocados, nuts, etc... just no trans fats). I discovered that there were these 40+ years worth of longitudinal studies on the success of this diet, and decided to give it a try...but I knew from personal experience that grains and dairy (which are acceptable on this diet) do not do good things to my body...So I decided to try to fuse the two diets into one super diet, which is what I've been eating for the past year- no gluten, no dairy, no legumes (including soy), and staying under the magic 15 grams of daily sat fat. My diet is pretty primal - Lots of veggies, lean meats and fish, some fruit, and one gluten-free carb meal once per week (white rice or gf pasta, usually). Since adapting this diet, I've had no physical symptoms for the past year.

    I'm wondering if anyone has a theory about why the limited saturated fat content would be so crucial, if it's true (as most people on this forum have said) that saturated fat is actually a positive thing (which I used to believe, but now I don't know what to believe, and I don't feel I have the luxury of experimenting with too much).


  • #2
    Here is one link with some thoughts about saturated fat's relationship to MS: :: Multiple Sclerosis: Nutritional Considerations

    On a different note, for your reference, I happened upon this blog a few months ago; the author has significantly reversed her MS symptoms by following a strict primal diet: > Home


    • #3
      Thanks, HealthseekerKate, for those links. The first one had an interesting postulation about why a low saturated fat diet would help, and at the end of the article it summer up the recommendations, the first one being:

      1. A low saturated fat (<10 g/day), low cholesterol diet may be tried prospectively. This is most effectively accomplished with a low–fat, vegan diet.

      AAAAAAAAAAAAGH! You can see my confusion when scientific studies with empirical data on MS and diet (which are sorely lacking) are telling people to eat a VEGAN diet. I can handle the low fat part, but the vegan part just doesn't make sense with what I know about healthy eating.


      • #4
        I have a friend with MS who says she feels better when she avoids grains and soy

        and btw, I thought someone was going to be all "Why does the Swank diet work?" and it would be about Hillary Swank.
        --Trish (Bork)