Australians with MS sought to trial new nutrition program

As part of a new project funded by MS Australia, Curtin University researchers are reportedly seeking to recruit 50 people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to test an online program that encourages healthier food choices.

The free, six-week online nutrition program will reportedly help empower people living with the complex autoimmune disease to make beneficial dietary changes that could help them manage some of their symptoms and improve their overall diet quality.

Chief Investigator Ms Rebecca Russell, a PhD student from Curtin University’s School of Population Health, says evidence shows that diet can play a significant role in managing some symptoms of MS, and people with MS want a nutrition program that is tailored to their needs.

“People with MS often turn to the internet for information about diet and MS, and they can be faced with conflicting information from the many ‘special diets’, which often exclude important food groups,” says Ms Russell.

“We know people with MS want clear information on what dietary changes they should be making.

“We have been working with them to develop this new online nutrition program that seeks to challenge the misinformation about diet and MS, and ensures they are getting the right advice.”

The research team is said to be seeking to recruit 50 people diagnosed with MS within the last five years who have internet access and are able to take part in the online program.

MS Australia Chief Executive Officer Rohan Greenland says he was delighted to support this new project because it offered a practical solution to an ongoing issue that many people with MS face.

“Currently, people with MS are advised to follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines, however, they have found this advice can be non-specific for people who have been recently diagnosed,” says Mr Greenland.

“Given the abundance of information on the internet, people with MS need advice on how to interpret what is evidence-based, and how to apply this to their own dietary preferences and living situations.

“We look forward to seeing the outcome of this exciting new program developed by Curtin researchers in collaboration with people living with MS.”

The online program will provide people with MS with the knowledge and skills to:

  • Understand the evidence in the field of nutrition and MS.
  • Judge the credibility of diets promoted for people with MS.
  • Select, prepare, and cook nutritious foods.
  • Assess the quality of their own diet.

The new program has been funded as part of MS Australia’s 2021 incubator grant round.

MS Australia is the national peak body for people affected by MS and is dedicated to advocacy, communications, education, funding and coordinating MS research, as part of the worldwide effort to solve MS.

It is estimated that more than 25,600 Australians currently live with MS.

Anyone interested in taking part in the program should contact the research team by email at MSDietProject@curtin.edu.au or by phone (Andrea Begley, research project supervisor) on 08 9266 2773.

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