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Interpretations of healthy eating after a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: a secondary qualitative analysis

Version 2 2024-06-02, 15:19
Version 1 2023-10-06, 03:54
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-02, 15:19 authored by H Weiss, RD Russell, Lucinda BlackLucinda Black, A Begley
PurposeMultiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that causes debilitating symptoms. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend a special diet for people with MS to slow disease progression and reduce symptoms. Little is known about the dietary choices made by people with MS. This study aimed to explore the interpretations of healthy eating in people recently diagnosed with MS. Objectives were to investigate the types of changes in food choices and to describe the impact of making these changes.Design/methodology/approachA social constructionist approach applying qualitative secondary analysis of semi-structured interviews was conducted (n = 11). Interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed using a deductive approach.FindingsParticipants were mostly female (82%), mean age 47 years and mean time since diagnosis eight months. Four themes emerged from the data: (1) moving in the direction of the dietary guidelines, (2) modifying intake of dietary fat, (3) requiring mental effort and (4) needing input from a dietitian.Practical implicationsThe directions of food choices and the absence of dietetic input highlighted in this study suggest the need for evidence-based nutrition education that enables people with MS to tailor dietary guidelines according to their preferences.Originality/valueHow people interpret healthy eating advice and the impact on making food choice changes is useful for explaining dietary changes in MS. Special diets promoted for MS provide conflicting advice, and the lack of access to dietitians means that additional mental effort is required when interpreting healthy eating messages and diets.

History

Journal

British Food Journal

Volume

125

Pagination

2918-2930

Location

Bingley, Eng.

ISSN

0007-070X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

8

Publisher

Emerald

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