Comparing Diets for Psoriasis

It’s becoming more widely known that dietary changes can help alleviate symptoms in some people with psoriasis (whether or not your dermatologist will believe this is another story!).

What are diet options for psoriasis relief?

Which diet to choose? How do they stack up against each other? You’ll notice that many of the same diets pop up on the psoriasis forums, so let’s compare them.

Caveat: every diet will have slight variations depending on whom you ask, and these lists are not meant to be exhaustive. Use them as a launching off point and to see which areas overlap.

What is the paleo diet?

The Paleo Diet is also known as the “caveman” diet and eliminates (for the most part) any foods that were not available in the Paleolithic period of human history (this was prior to us developing agriculture and cultivating grain crops).

  • Consume: Vegetables (starchy and non-starchy), fruits, high quality and grass-fed meats/seafood, eggs.
  • Limit: Nuts and seeds.
  • Avoid: White potatoes, grains, legumes/beans, factory-farmed meat, processed foods, dairy, sugar, sweeteners, salt, coffee, and yeast.

What is the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet?

The AIP diet claims to help relieve inflammatory autoimmune conditions by removing food that irritates the GI tract and gut mucosa (the AIP Diet is like Paleo’s strict cousin).

  • Consume: Almost all vegetables, grass fed meats/poultry/seafood, bone broth, fermented foods, and avocado/coconut/olive oil.
  • Limit: fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.
  • Avoid: Corn, nightshade vegetables, all grains, legumes/beans, dairy, eggs, sweeteners, highly processed foods, meats and oils, alcohol, chocolate, NSAIDS, and yeast.

What is the leaky gut diet?

Leaky gut is the colloquial term for hyper-permeability of the intestinal barrier. The leaky gut diet claims to eliminate foods that irritate the intestinal tract and cause gaps (or “leaks”) that allow undigested food and bacterial endotoxin to cross over and deposit in your organs (including your skin).

  • Consume: Non-starchy vegetables, fermented vegetables, sprouted grains, raw cultured dairy, egg yolks, high-quality meats, bone broth, probiotics, coconut oil, ghee, L-glutamine supplements.
  • Limit:Low-glycemic fruits.
  • Avoid: Starchy vegetables, high-glycemic fruits, non-sprouted grains, gluten, legumes/beans, egg whites, cow’s milk/dairy products, sugar, alcohol, NSAIDs, and processed food.

What is the Dr. Pagano diet?

Dr. Pagano was a chiropractor who penned the book “Healing Psoriasis.” Along with regular colon cleanses and chiropractic adjustments, he also introduced an expansive dietary element to healing.

  • Consume: Almost all fruits and vegetables, lamb, and slippery elm back supplement.
  • Limit: Grains, low-fat dairy products, white meats/seafood, eggs
  • Avoid: Nightshade vegetables, citrus fruits, strawberries, refined grain products, beans, red meat, shellfish, cured/processed meats, high-fat dairy products, fried foods, caffeine, sugar, and white vinegar.

What is the candida diet?

The Candida diet has different phases (starting with a liquid phase and then a gradual reintroduction of low sugar foods), but the underlying premise is that psoriasis is a condition caused and/or exacerbated by fungal overgrowth. Because Candida thrives on sugars, the goal of the diet is to eliminate their food source and “starve” the Candida out.

  • Consume: Non-starchy vegetables, pseudo-grains, low mould nuts/seeds, cultured dairy, grass-fed meats, eggs, coconut oil, and garlic.
  • Limit: Low glycemic index fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, fermented vegetables.
  • Avoid: Refined grains, gluten, peanuts, non-cultured dairy, processed/cured meats, sugar, sweeteners (except Stevia), alcohol, mushrooms, and yeast.

What is the FODMAP diet?

FODMAPs are foods containing Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. A low FODMAP diet cuts out foods containing these sugars and can be helpful for people with fructose malabsorption issues. The protocol claims to help psoriasis by preventing bacterial overgrowth in the large intestine.

  • Consume: most non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, fresh meats and seafood, eggs, soft cheeses, butter, and ghee.
  • Limit: Low-fructose fruits, starchy vegetables, alcohol.
  • Avoid: Onions, garlic, peas, fruit juice, high-fructose fruits, legumes/beans, soybeans, gluten, cashews, pistachios, processed/cured meats, hard cheeses, high-fat dairy, sugar, sweeteners (except Stevia), and prebiotics (inulin, oligofructose, etc.).

Deciding which diet is best for psoriasis

There are, of course, many other diets we psoriasis folk try (Acid/Alkaline comes to mind), but these are the ones I come across most frequently. Water fasting and elimination diets have also been shown to be beneficial for some of us (but always consult with a Doctor first!).

Now, if you’re like me you’re thinking “okay great, but what could I eat if I wanted to follow ALL of these diets at once?!” Grab the bull by the horns, right? The diets listed above generally agree that you can consume and avoid the products below.

  • Consume: Most fresh, non-starchy vegetables (except onions, garlic, peas, and mushrooms), limited amounts of low-sugar fruits, limited amounts of low-mould nuts and seeds, limited grass-fed poultry and wild-caught fish.
  • Avoid:Alcohol, processed meats (sausage, hot dogs, deli meats, etc.) and processed foods in general, beans and legumes, refined grains, gluten, sugar and sweeteners.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an awful lot of kale! See you in the produce aisle, yeah?

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