My friend suggested that I avoid all the sugary foods for 3 months to heal my osteoarthritis knee. It has been over 5 months and still slightly swell and painful. Can you list everyday sugary foods? Are apples, bananas, oranges, watermelon and blueberries considered sugary foods?

– Harold H.


My clinical understanding is that osteoarthritis is not curable but symptoms are manageable. Since you’ve not had success, it seems you need another tactic. Though I agree with eliminating added sugar, you’ll want the antioxidants from fruits and vegetables to decrease inflammation*.

Is it true that I need to limit my fruit consumption because fruits are high in sugar and carbohydrates?

Sugary foods to avoid include regular sodas, lemonade, smoothies, most energy drinks, sweetened dried cranberries or shredded coconut, desserts, confections, sweetened yogurt, granola bars, breakfast bars, cereals with more than 5 grams sugar per serving, prepared coleslaw, French dressing, glazed ham, sauced meats (e.g. orange chicken), barbeque sauce, most pasta sauce and Chinese fast food.

Other recommendations for osteoarthritis include getting daily ginger, turmeric, and omega-3 rich food – such as fatty fish (salmon), walnuts or flax seed. In addition to diet, supplements such as SAM-e, glucosamine w/ chondroitin, and capsaicin are promoted for reducing osteoarthritis pain.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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