Swedish rheumatoid arthritis patients placed on a fast followed by a year long vegetarian diet showed significant heath improvements even a year after their regimen.
The study, conducted by the University of Oslo, enlisted 53 patients with classic rheumatoid arthritis, then allocated27 of them to a four week stay at a health farm. The study group were then put on a near total fast using only herbal teas, garlic, vegetable broth and juice extracts from carrots, beets and celery. The fast did not allow fruit juices.
After the fast, the patients were allowed to reintroduce a new food every other day. If they reported an increase in pain or joint swelling up to two days after ingesting the new item, they omitted it again for another week.
For three and a half months, they were asked to avoid gluten, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, refined sugar, citrus fruits, alcoholic beverages, tea, coffee, salt strong spices and preservatives.
After three and a half months, the patients were allowed to reintroduce dairy products and gluten so long as they did not react to them.
A control group spent four weeks at a home eating an unrestricted diet.
After four weeks, those on the restricted diet showed significant improvements in joint tenderness and swelling, pain, morning stiffness and grip strength. These benefits carried on for a year, leading the researchers to concludes that "a substantial reduction in disease activity can be obtained by fasting followed by an individually adjusted vegetarian diet".
These results caused the ordinarily conservative Lancet to begrudgingly admit:"It is already clear . . . that every rheumatology department needs a dietitian, if not a health farm."