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The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book: A Low-Fat Diet for the Treatment of M.S.
by Barbara Brewer Dugan [edit], Roy L. Swank [edit]

The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book: A Low-Fat Diet for the Treatment of M.S.
********** 10 Stars!
Price: US$ 21.00, Available worldwide on Amazon.com
Check Availability from: Canada or from United Kingdom
ISBN: 0385232799

Description

Synopsis
Describes the history, symptoms, and treatment of multiple sclerosis, and shares recipes from a low-fat diet designed to alleviate its progressive effects.

From the Publisher
Hundreds of new recipes for dishes that taste terrific but stick to the diet rules so important for controlling M.S.--now completely revised to conform to the latest medical research.



It Changed My Life, August 1, 2000
Reviewer: Marty (Chattanooga, TN USA) - See all my reviews
I was diagnosed with MS in 1990. My wife and I found this book almost immediately. We both have medical backgrounds. This book made sense. All my neurologist offered was testing and drugs. While the high dose steroids did alleviate my symptoms I knew there had to be more that I could do. Because of the information in this book I made lifestyle changes. Initially we left off all meat and meat products. We left 1% milk ,eggs and low fat cheese on our diet. We maintained total fat grams to less than 30/day. We both started an active exercise programm and just as importantly got plenty of rest. ( early to bed early to rise so to speak). Over the years I have modified the diet. I pretty much eat what I want now except I have not started eating meat again. Today after 10 years I do not have any significant residual effects from MS. I drink plenty of water everyday. I have not tried any of the new medical treatments for MS. Because of "The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book" I made changes in my lifestyle that I felt would be healthy for me regardless of having MS. I did not agree with everything in the book and sort of picked and chose what I felt would be best for me personally. I have not regretted my lifestyle change and thank Dr. Swank for making this book available. I think it still has some of the best advice available to MS patients.



Credit this diet with a 9 year management of MS, July 29, 2003
Reviewer: "225533447766" (London Great Britain) - See all my reviews
If you are fortunate to be diagnosed early and have found this book and have a strong will, I believe you can control MS, especially if you incorporate the suggestions made in Judy Graham's book into your life. I was diagnosed nine years ago and the first 6 months I didn't know of this diet and I experienced 4 attacks. Since this diet, not only have I virtually eliminated my suffering from migraines and increased my energy, my MS is within my control. Excess stress and heat still knock me out but the diet has made me resilient. Whether is just boost my immune system, whether I just believe it does or whether it actually helps those with MS, I believe the results of Swank's 33 year study, albeit not controlled to perfect scientific standards (how would that be possible given the nature of the studies) must not be ignored if you actually want to be healthy. Some with MS like being identified as such and like having an excuse to stop pushing themselves, and some poor souls can't control it no matter what they do, but if you have been recently diagnosed and are seriously dedicated to the diet (as in NEVER deterring) and seriously want a full life - there is a 95% you can have it by following the principles in this book along with other remedies Judy discusses.
Although during my training half my body went numb and although I would NEVER do it again I ran the 2000 Dublin marathon and credit the diet for that ability. And although when I moved from San Diego to London I temporarily lost the sight in my left eye, it has come back and now I can make my way to the bar as well as the other Londoners :-)



It Changed My Life, August 1, 2000
Reviewer: Marty (Chattanooga, TN USA) - See all my reviews
I was diagnosed with MS in 1990. My wife and I found this book almost immediately. We both have medical backgrounds. This book made sense. All my neurologist offered was testing and drugs. While the high dose steroids did alleviate my symptoms I knew there had to be more that I could do. Because of the information in this book I made lifestyle changes. Initially we left off all meat and meat products. We left 1% milk ,eggs and low fat cheese on our diet. We maintained total fat grams to less than 30/day. We both started an active exercise programm and just as importantly got plenty of rest. ( early to bed early to rise so to speak). Over the years I have modified the diet. I pretty much eat what I want now except I have not started eating meat again. Today after 10 years I do not have any significant residual effects from MS. I drink plenty of water everyday. I have not tried any of the new medical treatments for MS. Because of "The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book" I made changes in my lifestyle that I felt would be healthy for me regardless of having MS. I did not agree with everything in the book and sort of picked and chose what I felt would be best for me personally. I have not regretted my lifestyle change and thank Dr. Swank for making this book available. I think it still has some of the best advice available to MS patients.



Miracle Cure..., December 29, 2003
Reviewer: "rodbarker" (Pasco, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This isn't a miracle cure for the masses because most people either won't believe it, won't try it or won't stick with it. The research and documentation are extremely extensive. Not many remedies in any disease can boast a 33 year study with a nearly 90% success rate.
I have been on this diet for 2 1/2 years, starting a month after my diagnosis on advice of my personal physician, who had met Dr. Swank.
People only know I have MS when they question why I won't eat something. I keep my Saturated Fat level under 15 grams a day, closer to 10 most days. Since my original symptoms have gone away I have had no other problems.
My suggestion to you is don't knock it until you've tried it. Dr. Swanks book is a God send - Thanks!



This diet works!, December 10, 2003
Reviewer: A reader
When initially diagnosed a bit over a year ago I was reccomended this book by an MS chapter in my area. Since my husband is keen on diet and I was not, I bought it and began to follow its protocols just in case it might help. Well, it has really helped. One week I went off the Swank diet thinking 'Hey, I ate whatever I wanted for decades, why keep this up?'. Guess what? My symptoms worsened immediately! So back on the diet I went and have stayed. Of course, to satisfy my nuerologist I also do Avonex and do have a daily regimen of vitamins but the Swank diet is the key component. It keeps me fine, fine, fine.



The only long-term, drug-free protocol that benefits MS!, June 22, 2002
Reviewer: A reader
As a MS patient of Dr. Swank (he is now retired) and a practitioner of his diet for many years, I can attest to the great power of the diet protocol. His positive experience with 1,000's of MS patients over many years parrallels his continued study of early subjects. The never ending diet regimen may seem difficult to follow but it is doable with determination, and clearly healthy. It must become a way of life. The book is truly a blessing for all of us who realize we must take ownership of our own health. The medical system offers us little to no long-term help.



Seems to work but..., November 14, 2001
Reviewer: Chris Cortes (The Woodlands, TX United States) - See all my reviews
Over two and a half years ago my wife (age 30) was diagnosed with MS, three months after giving birth to our child. She was having the traditional MS symptoms: Optic Neuritis, Transverse Mylitis, and the list goes on and on. Upon finally being diagnosed we got a second opinion from a Neurosurgeon, who suggested we be proactive and find out if there were any good diet books for this disease. Naturally we found the Swank diet and got on it ASAP, along with Avonex.
The food in this book was a massive shift, and removed from our diet almost all of our traditional fare, and we were already healthy eaters. Moreover, I don't think that the recipes in this book are geared toward the American pallet. This book certainly needs to be revised for American tastes. We stayed on this diet for about a year and a half and then decided to give it a break. My wife has been relatively symptom free for the last two years. It is very hard for us to say that the diet played a role in decreasing or eliminating her symptoms.

My wife's current Neurologist, a nationally respected MS specialist in Houston, seems to believe that the diet is based on sound healthy habits. However, he is reluctant to endorse the diet because, in his opinion, the diet was not put through rigorous peer review. In the end, after going through this disease on and off medication and on and off the diet, I think that you should follow your doctor's advice and give this diet a chance only of you will give it a year or more before discounting it or endorsing it.

To our end, we decided to get off the diet about a year ago, and my wife has been alright since.


Informative but dated, July 12, 2001
Reviewer: "drmacgreg" (Phoenix, Arizona United States) - See all my reviews
This book contains much informative information regarding research findings of Dr. Swank over the years. Some information is still applicable, but this book is rather old and updated information is lacking. This is a good reference book and an interesting theory on diets for MS. However, if you would like the most current information on MS, it's best to look elsewhere.

Barbara Brewer Dugan


Roy L. Swank (Biography)

Dr. Swank began studying the correlation between diet and MS in the late 1940's. His book, The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book, has achieved wide acclaim from both within and outside the medical community. At age 92, Dr. Swank is no longer actively seeing patients; however, his work continues to touch the lives of thousands of MS sufferers who have found hope through his diet.Comments from Roy L. Swank, M.D., Ph.D.



A fascinating history.

About July 1948, I was offered a five-year-long opportunity to investigate Multiple Sclerosis with adequate financing for my family (wife and two children), and three months travel to observe others and their work. I was also given full financial support for my research.

September 1, 1948, I arrived in Montreal and established a home for my family. I spent the rest of the year examining the MS patients at the Montreal Neurological Clinic and researched information in the McGill University library. The four months of intense study of MS led to three possible leads:
Usually the onset of severe attacks developed rapidly.

The onset of most individual attacks suggested vascular origins.

The disease was found worldwide but particularly common in the industrial countries.

During the Second World War several countries in Europe occupied by the Germans had been deprived of much of their fat because it had been shipped to Germany. I elected first to go to Western Europe to see if this change in diet had influenced the frequency of the disease.

In Norway, Professor Monrad Krohn, Chief of Neurology, suggested that he seldom saw cases of MS from along the coast, where fishing was the primary industry, but further inland, where farming was the primary industry, and in the mountains the frequency of MS was more common. He suggested that I see Julia Backer who was in charge of recording the geographic distribution of the disease. She was very interested, and the same day we designed a questionnaire requesting age of onset of MS and its place of onset, among other things. The questionnaires were sent to all hospitals and neurologists in Norway.

I then traveled to Switzerland where it was known that MS was common where German was spoken, and rare where Italian was spoken.

Three months later I received a complete report of the Norwegian study. The existence of MS along the coast was rare (about 1 per 10,000 persons). In the mountains it was more common (about 9 per 10,000 persons).

Based on these and other figures, food consumption studies were done in these areas. In the mountains the rural families lived largely on meat, milk, eggs, and cheese, whereas along the coast, people consumed fish and other food sources found in the ocean.

The Norwegian study confirmed and amplified our previous impression and led to our low-fat diet study of MS.

By 1950 we had established the low-fat diet maximum of 10 to 15 grams of animal saturated fat daily, plus 20 to 40 grams of unsaturated fat (oils). Protein was largely obtained by eating seafood, plus skim milk. In addition, vegetables, fruits and grains were consumed.

In 1950 no one had developed a low-fat diet. The problem of developing a diet based on our results fell to Aagot Grimsgard and myself. She not only developed a very good diet, but she closely supervised the food consumption of our patients and saw to it that they closely recorded their food intake.

During the first five years in Montreal we saw and examined 250 patients with MS. 150 chose to follow the diet and were followed by Aagot, other dieticians, and myself. Once a year, we traveled to Montreal and spent one month examining patients and checking their diet. During the next 20 years they were also contacted every three months by phone and mail, in which they responded with a record of their diet.

All patients did not follow the diet carefully and records of their diet revealed this. In 1991 a record of progress was published in Nutrition. 70 of the 150 patients consumed an average of 17 grams of fat daily, 21% died. Those eating an average of 30 grams of fat daily, 75% died. And those eating an average of 42 grams of fat daily, 81% died.

In the fall of 2000, I traveled to Canada to see the last 14 patients who we are still in contact with from the study that began in Montreal in 1950. Two were unable to walk, but otherwise their body function and mental and communicative abilities were normal. The remaining 12 were ambulant. Two were weak yet able to walk and care for themselves and lived alone. The remaining ten patients were normal physically, mentally, neurologically and very active and normal in appearance. Their ages varied from 72 to 82 years. We will see two others this year.




Dr. Swank comments about MS patients in general and how they fare on his diet. In the beginning, most MS patients are tense, active, hard workers and “must always be on the job.” They are good workers and usually do well in school; however, most tend to suffer periodically from fatigue and general weakness, and they may often be kept home from school for several weeks because of fatigue.

Physicians usually fail to clarify the problem, and the patient slowly recovers to become active and energetic again. During this period, they may experience mild sensory and motor (muscular) symptoms, which are not marked enough to be recognized by the physician. Spontaneous recovery leads to no diagnosis and to confusion. When the neurological complaints become severe enough to be recognized by the physician, x-ray and blood examinations may appear to be normal. MS patients, when properly diagnosed and placed on the Swank low-saturated fat diet, respond variably, depending on how long the disease has been present and the degree of disability which is present.

If the diet is closely followed and daily rest is taken, the cases with very little neurological disability will shortly improve, and almost all will make a very satisfactory recovery. They will remain ambulant, energetic and agreeable, and in a period measured by months or years, will think clearly and be able to enjoy and enter into activities with friends. Usually in a relatively short time, patients will return to activities and work full or part-time.

In a matter of a few years, they will feel cured of their disease but still tend to tire and need more rest. For this reason, they are told at onset of treatment that they will have to have a midday rest of one to two hours daily to keep the fatigue under control.

If the disease is not diagnosed early and the patient has suffered from definite disability but is still able to get around and care for himself, recovery is slower and will not, as a rule, be as complete as it is for patients who had only a slight disability when first diagnosed and placed on the low-fat diet. Their progress will, nevertheless, be one of improvement toward recovery.

Our experience has shown us that patients on low-fat-diet treatment usually recover and that their recovery slowly improves during the entire period of 35-50 years or longer as long as they follow diet and rest.

Frequently, patients who have done very well for as long as 20 years or more, have been normal physically and mentally and able to work part or full-time will have what we call “ghost symptoms” that appear and are worrisome. We have learned that fatigue from working too hard, lack of the daily one-hour rest, or severe stress and continuous worry will often result in the reappearance of mild symptoms and findings reminiscent of the very beginning or original symptoms of the disease.

These “ghost symptoms” are real, not imaginary, but they are readily reduced or obliterated by increased rest, solution of problems causing worry, and dealing with stressful situations followed by clearing the mind. The workload must be reduced, a vacation taken if possible, and the afternoon naps reinstated. It is often necessary to restart the relaxing medications at this time as well. The diet must also be checked. It is often advisable to reduce saturated fat intake to no more than 5 grams.

In the past, I advised diazepam, 2 mg taken 3 times a day and 5 mg at bedtime. This drug is very good, but physicians now prefer new ones. The drugs advised now are known as tranquilizers. Stimulating drugs, in other words drugs for depression, should be avoided. Several months of increased rest and mental calming will remove the “ghost” symptoms, but it is important to remember that the disease is still with you, and these symptoms may appear again if the patient works too hard, worries too much, and is too concerned about routine problems.

If one fails to follow the diet and rest, old symptoms, followed by new ones, will occur. It is absolutely necessary that you continue both, or the disease will again become active.





Dr. Swank reports on the progress of some of his original patients. Many of you know about the early studies I began in Canada in 1950 treating MS patients with a low-fat diet containing only 10-15 gm of saturated fat.

During the autumn of 2000, Mrs. Swank and I traveled to Canada to see the remaining patients from the original group of 144. I am still continuing to pursue others of that original group. However, it is a difficult process trying to contact these patients, and in 2001 Leeanna and I drove to Edmonton, Alberta Canada to see another female patient, who had been a part of the original group. She is doing extremely well and had a very demanding career until her retirement.

I also was visited by a man from California, who was in the initial group as well. He also had a very demanding career as a civil engineer and worked until full retirement age. He has been on the diet for 47 years and at 71 still walks 18 holes of golf and walks four-plus miles a day in cool weather.

Prior to initiation of my studies in 1948, the prognosis for MS patient survival was not good. It was commonly held that 20 percent would die within 25 years, and all would be dead within 35 years. Our study revealed that 80 percent of MS patients on the Swank Low-Fat Diet were still living after 35 years. It is not difficult to see a correlation here between diet and survival.

I have not seen similar studies with the ABC drugs, but I have seen a number of patients on them, both on the low-fat diet and without the diet. The patients I have talked with have all found the ABC drugs to cause pain and worsen their MS symptoms, and many have quit the drugs because of this. I have yet to see patients who have been on the drugs for more than a year and who acknowledge that the drugs improved their condition.

The only statement by a drug house has been that on the drug, patients have experienced a 30 percent reduction in MS attacks. On the Swank Low-Fat Diet, when carefully followed, the exacerbations or attacks are reduced greatly.





Are you, or have you been, on the ABC drugs? Dr. Swank would like to hear from you. It has never been my way to speak negatively of those who disagree with my work. All that I can do is refer you back to the last 50 years of my research and its results, described in my books and previous newsletters.

It was and is my experience in communicating with patients that those who try the drugs have negative experiences and often serious exacerbations follow. I realize, however, that I may not hear from those who do well on the medications (although I doubt that).

I would like those of you who have tried the ABC drugs to write of your experiences, good or bad, so that we can use your input to educate others.

I wish you each well on your journey as you learn to live effectively with MS.


Consult with a physician before embarking on this or any other diet.
Every patient is different. Information on this site does not constitute medical advice or treatment. This site does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship.


© 2002 by The Swank MS Foundation. All Rights Reserved. 


 

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