Trick or Treat Guide to MS

Trick or Treat Guide to MS

Halloween is just around the corner and sugary treats are everywhere. When it comes to multiple sclerosis, though, sugar can be a tricky subject. Overall, sticking with a healthy diet can pay off health-wise for those with multiple sclerosis. Poor food choices can contribute to excess inflammation in the body, which worsens MS progression, as well as symptoms such as fatigue.

What does a healthy diet mean in the context of MS? It’s basically the same as recommendations for anyone (regardless of health status); that is, a diet based on wholesome foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and high-fiber foods, while avoiding refined sugar, saturated fats, and processed foods.

Looking at the diet quality of a large group of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, researchers have discovered that people with the highest quality of diet experience the lowest levels of MS-related disability, as well as being least likely to experience depression, severe fatigue, pain, or brain fogginess. What you eat matters a lot in life overall, and perhaps even more in MS.

Sugary foods present another danger to those with MS. Since sugar provides empty calories, it contributes to weight gain; and being overweight in turn contributes to fatigue – a common MS symptom. Weight issues also exacerbate mobility challenges of those with multiple sclerosis.

So on Halloween this year: if you have MS, go easy on the treats.


Fitzgerald KC, Tyry T, Salter A, et al. Diet quality is associated with disability and symptom severity in multiple sclerosis. Neurology 2018;90(1):e1-11.

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