An easy way to reduce arthritic knee symptoms is to lose weight

Dealing with arthritic knees can be taxing on anyone; fortunately, there’s a simple way to manage this condition. According to a 2005 study, published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, people suffering from aching knees can mitigate their symptoms by losing weight.

To arrive at this conclusion, the research team carried out a randomized eight-week trial with 80 overweight adults. Their definition of overweight was a body mass index (BMI) above 28 kg/m2. In addition to the participants’ weight, the basis of selection included an absence of serious health problems and a clear desire to slim down.

The trial itself called for the participants to be randomly allocated into two groups, with each group being placed on a “low energy” diet (3.4 megajoules/day) or “control hypo-energetic high protein” diet (five mj/day). Participants on the low-energy diet were given a mixture of water and nutrition six times a day, as well as weekly behavioral therapy and nutritional guidance. On the other hand, those on the control hypo-energetic high-protein diet were recommended certain foods and diet plans to meet the required five mj/day.

Come the end of eight weeks, both groups had lost a considerable amount of weight. The mean weight loss for the low-energy diet group was 11.1 kg, while the figure came to 4.3 kg for the control group. Furthermore, over half of the low-energy diet group lost more than 10 percent of their initial weight.

Thanks to the weight loss, all of the participants’ arthritic knee symptoms greatly improved. The researchers measured this outcome via questionnaires based on the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and the Lequesne Algofunctional Index. Both indices are commonly used by medical professionals to assess the severity of a patient’s knee osteoarthritis.

Although both groups underwent positive changes in their WOMAC scores, the low-energy diet group had the best results. Their total WOMAC score significantly decreased from the baseline at 35 percent. The scores for “pain” and “stiffness” were above 25 and 30 percent, respectively. In comparison, the pain and stiffness scores for the control group were just over 15 and 10 percent. (Related: Tai Chi found to significantly improve knee movement and flexibility in osteoarthritis patients.)

Based on the results, the researchers determined that weight loss would benefit those suffering from arthritic knees.

“In conclusion, we found that an eight-week program with a 10 percent weight loss gave a highly significant increase in function in obese patients with knee [osteoarthritis],” they wrote. “As the patients show a corresponding reduction in their risk of other health problems as well, weight loss is proposed as a first-choice therapy for knee [osteoarthritis].”

While they acknowledged that rapidly shedding an ample amount of weight can be detrimental, weight loss by itself has numerous advantages. The reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer are just a few of them.

Weight loss can be achieved in a variety of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Eating high amounts of protein: According to, high-protein diets are an excellent way to lose weight. Protein pulls off the double duty of reducing cravings and boosting metabolism by as much as 100 calories a day. Meat, seafood, fish, and eggs are some of the best sources of this essential nutrient.
  • Curbing sugar and starch intake: The less sugar and starches are consumed, the more the body will feed off fat for energy. Moreover, cutting back on sugar and starches can lessen insulin levels, in turn leading to the body shedding water weight.
  • Choosing whole foods: Unprocessed foods are the healthiest type of foods around. They’re full of nutrients, lack the additives and chemicals that go into manufactured foods, and can help avoid overeating.

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