Eating Right with Arthritis: Arthritis Nutrition FAQs

Public and Patient Education Department Program, March 27, 2007

Laura Allman, RD
Nutritionist
Food and Nutrition Services Department

Is it safe to drink New York water?
NY water is tested regularly and must pass these tests to be safe for consumption.

Are sugar substitutes safe to use?
Yes.
 
Which one is best to use?
I like using Splenda® because it measures exactly like sugar when baking.

Are eggs okay to eat?
Eggs are a great source of protein, but also contain cholesterol and saturated fat in the yolk.

What is an appropriate amount to eat each week?
If you are watching the cholesterol in your diet, you should have less than 4 whole eggs a week.

What about egg substitutes?
Egg whites and egg substitutes do not have the yolk, so they are fat and cholesterol free.

How much fish is okay to eat without having to worry about consuming too much mercury?
Mercury is not found in all fish, and it is safe to consume fish low in mercury on a daily basis. If you eat a high mercury fish, you will not feel sick immediately. However, eating fish with high amounts of mercury regularly causes it to build up in your blood over time.

Which fishes are high in mercury?
The source for this data is the National Resources Defense Council, which compiles their information from the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Highest Mercury (Avoid when possible)
King Mackerel
Orange Roughy
Shark
Swordfish
Tilefish
Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi)

High Mercury (Limit to 3 or less servings per month)
Bluefish
Grouper
Spanish Mackerel
Sea Bass (Chilean)
Tuna (Canned Albacore)
Tuna (Yellowfin)

Moderate Mercury (Limit to 6 servings per month)
Bass (Striped, Black)
Carp
Cod (Alaskan)
Croaker (White Pacific)
Halibut (Atlantic and Pacfic)
Jacksmelt
Lobster
Mahi Mahi
Monkfish
Perch
Sablefish
Skate
Snapper
Tuna (Chunk light canned)
Tuna (Skipjack)
Weakfish (Sea Trout)

Least Mercury (Enjoy these fish)
Anchovies
Butterfish
Catfish
Clam
Crab
Crayfish
Crawfish
Flounder
Haddock
Hake
Herring
Mackerel (North Atlantic)
Mullet
Oyster
Pollack
Salmon (fresh and canned)
Sardine
Scallop
Sole
Tilapia
Squid
Trout (Freshwater)
Whitefish
Whiting

Is there are causational relationship between celiac disease and arthritis?
Arthritis and celiac disease are both autoimmune diseases, but just because you have one does not mean you will get the other. If there is a concern, speak with your doctor.

Do nightshade vegetables contribute to arthritis?
There has been no recent data or research to show that nightshade vegetables contribute to arthritis. However, if eliminating these foods from your diet improves your symptoms, then you can choose to do so. Nightshade vegetables include white potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant.

Does chocolate influence arthritis?
I have not seen research that shows a correlation between chocolate and arthritis. But if you find that it worsens your symptoms, try eliminating it and see if your body responds.

Summary by the HSS Education Division

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