Send to

Choose Destination
Nutrients. 2019 Mar 13;11(3). pii: E616. doi: 10.3390/nu11030616.

Nutrient Composition Comparison between the Low Saturated Fat Swank Diet for Multiple Sclerosis and Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern.

Author information

Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an incurable degenerative disease that attacks the central nervous system. Roy Swank proposed a low saturated fat diet to treat MS around 1950 and showed delayed disease progression in his patients. However, there is insufficient evidence to recommend this diet for MS and default dietary recommendations are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). This study assessed the nutritional adequacy of seven-day menus developed by Swank and their compliance with the DGA; menus were modeled for comparison with the DGA Healthy US-Style Eating Pattern (HEP) for males and females 31⁻50 years. Swank recommended dietary supplements corrected menu shortfalls in vitamins D, E, calcium, folate and iron but not dietary fiber, potassium and choline. Healthy Eating Index-2015 score for Swank menus (93.2/100) indicated good compliance with the DGA. Nutritional adequacy of the Swank modeled diet was similar to HEP for 17 vitamins and minerals (Mean Adequacy Ratios ≥94%) with similar shortfall nutrients except magnesium (HEP males) and dietary fiber (Swank males). Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010 scores for Swank male (90/110) and female (88/110) model diets were similar to HEP. Swank menus have similar nutritional adequacy as HEP. Inclusion of foods high in dietary fiber, potassium and choline may be advised as well as selection of foods to reduce sodium below the Tolerable Upper Intake Level.


AHEI-2010; HEI-2015; Swank diet; exemplary menus; low saturated fat diet; multiple sclerosis; nutrient density; nutritional adequacy

Free full text

Conflict of interest statement

T.L.W. strongly advocates for a modified Paleolithic style diet in academic and business settings and follows variations of the Wahls Elimination diet and the various diet plans described in the Wahls Protocol® books and programs. She has copyrights for The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life, The Wahls Protocol and Minding My Mitochondria, 2nd Edition and trademarked Wahls™ Diet, Wahls Paleo™ Diet and Wahls Paleo Plus™ Diet. She has not trademarked Wahls Elimination Diet. T.L.W. has financial relationships with BioCeuticals; Genova Diagnostics; Institute for Health and Healing; Integrative Medicine for Mental Health; MCG Health Inc.; NCURA; Penguin Random House Inc.; Suttler Pacific and an equity interest in Terry Wahls, LLC; TZ Press, LLC; The Wahls Institute, PLC; and T.L.W. received funding from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to conduct a randomized clinical trial comparing the effect of the Wahls Elimination and Swank diets on multiple sclerosis-related fatigue. The University of Iowa prepared a conflict of interest management plan for this clinical trial that T.L.W. follows to mitigate conflicts of interest. L.M.R. was assigned to independently review the clinical trial data collection, analysis and study results as part of T.L.W.’s conflict of interest management plan. L.M.R. has been a paid statistical consultant for T.L.W. since 2013; she does not follow a special diet. L.G.S. is a co-investigator on the clinical trial comparing Swank and Wahls Elimination diets and reports no other conflicts of interest; she does not follow a special diet. C.A.C. has been employed by T.L.W. since 2013, was paid to calculate the nutrient composition of the menus in The Wahls Protocol and was paid for the preparation of this manuscript; she does not follow any special diet. The funding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript and in the decision to publish the results.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Loading ...
Support Center