"You are what you eat."–Adelle Davis
A forty-five year-old professional came to me with complaints of knee pain. He had a meniscus tear that required arthroscopic surgery. The only barrier to performing the repair was the fifty extra pounds he was carrying that was likely to cause arthritis in the injured knee.
He had never considered the burden his extra weight was to his knee. The knee on a person of average weight can support three times the body′s weight during normal, brisk walking or stair climbing. Playing sports, jumping, running, or pushing the knee′s limits in any way raises the demand. Every extra pound puts an extra burden on the knee, every step of every day. In his case, he was adding an extra 150 pounds of pressure with every brisk step.
Intervention: consultation with a nutritionist. A three-day reckoning of his every bite produced convincing evidence of how he had gained the weight and revealed a pattern he could change to reverse his gain to loss. Making sure that he understood basic facts about foods and the impact ofchoices, that he was ready to change his behavior, and that he was willing to undertake a modified exercise program I devised to avoid further injury to his knee, convinced me he would taste success. Losing weight not only made him look and feel better and decreased the chance of postoperative arthritis, it also improved his sense of well-being and decreased his risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Relax. This is not a lecture on the food pyramid. What it is, is some information about nutrition that′s pertinent for any person who is on the go and realizes the health of any part, including the knee, depends on the health of the whole.
In the first part of this chapter, the role of diet, the various nutrients (and how much of each is needed), vitamin supplements, and fluid replacement during exercise are topics. Then the focus will shift to diet and weight control. There′s a big difference between controlling weight and controlling body fat. What needs to be emphasized is how to listen to the body and how to approach diet change slowly and successfully.
This is a section from Dr. Jack E, Jensen’s book The One Stop Knee Shop. Read the next section The Role of Diet in Health.