When I went to the CFS/ME clinic to see the occupational therapist, one of the things I asked about was food supplements and alternative therapies. While rather evasive on the whole subject – I guess they don’t like to promote or dismiss outright anymore, and they need to save something for the other sessions – I was recommended to visit The UK Association of Dietitians (BDA) website for more information and their guidelines, which are the ones used by the NHS.
The BDA website is immense, and nothing helpful came up when I searched for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After a while of ferreting around though, I ended up on the Food Facts Home and found success. A list of medical conditions sounded hopeful. . . and indeed, there I found a fact sheet for CFS. (CFS Food Fact Sheet)
Looking over this short fact sheet, I found that the rough ideas I’d been following were more or less what was advised. Yay for me! Of course, I probably eat more chocolate than they’d recommend, and crisps for that matter. . . but I have to get my salt from somewhere, and nobody’s perfect!
For your convenience here’s a quick summary of their advice for a good diet for those with CFS:
- Eat a balanced diet including food from all the food groups. These are starchy foods, fruit and veg, meat fish and alternatives, milk and dairy.
- Many people with CFS find eating little and often is beneficial, so try three main meals with a snack in between to keep your energy levels up. Avoid biscuits, sweets, fizzy drinks, etc as snacks because. . .
- High sugar food and drinks can make your blood sugar levels go haywire. You want to try and avoid this.
- There is no evidence to support the effectiveness of different diets. Restrictive diets are only recommended if there’s a food allergy and then only under supervision of a dietitian or healthcare professional.
- Concerning nutritional supplements: “There is not enough consistent evidence to support the use of vitamin and mineral supplements to manage CFS/ME symptoms.” Plus, many supplements are expensive and contain huge doses of the active ingredients, which can be harmful. If you do take a multivitamin or other such, make sure there isn’t more than 100% of the RDA for any of the ingredients.
How’s that for sensible sounding advice?