And if the prostaglandins and leukotrienes don't get to you, the extra weight you'll put on by consuming fatty foods will, says Dr. Carol Warfield, a professor of anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School.
"In my experience, the greatest effect of diet on arthritis is weight control," Warfield says. "There is no question that being overweight makes osteoarthritis worse, especially that involving the knees and hips."
A great substitute for the traditional high-fat bacon is turkey bacon, which on average has half the calories as pork bacon and just five fat calories. For some brands of turkey bacon, none of this fat is saturated. And this reduction in saturated fat could reduce or eliminate your arthritic pain, Barnard says.
If you are thinking about ditching the bacon for more eggs, you many want to reconsider. Askari warns that eggs contain the same pro-inflammatory agents as bacon. Eggs contain arachidonic acid, and as this acid is broken down by the body, "in some, but not all individuals, this can lead to the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins," Askari says. These inflammatory prostaglandins can lead to increased swelling and joint pain.
Eggs also contain a fair amount of saturated fat, which many doctors believe has a direct link to increased inflammation and arthritic pain. An average large white egg is 63 percent fat, a third of which is saturated fat. These saturated fats could lead to the development of the pain-inducing prostaglandins and leukotrienes in much the same way as they could in bacon, says Askari.
Since most of the fat and cholesterol of an egg is found in the yolk, one way to have your egg and eat it too would be to eliminate the center. A large white egg with the yolk removed comprises only 3 percent fat and contains no saturated fat. And if separating the yolk from the egg is a bit too tricky for your culinary talent, egg substitutes are another great option. A one-quarter cup serving, which is the equivalent of two medium-size eggs, has zero fat calories and contains zero saturated fats.
Eliminating saturated fat-filled egg yolks from your diet could reduce your arthritic pain, but Askari does caution, "the results are not uniform, and reactions should be monitored individually."
"Cheese is arguably the most unhealthy food out there," says Barnard. When you look at the label and see what's in it, it's hard to argue.
Up to 70 percent of the calories found in cheese come from saturated fat, which is known to raise a person's cholesterol and could set the body up for inflammation.
In the early 1900s, says Barnard, the average American was consuming 4 pounds of cheese a year. That number jumped to 15 pounds in the 1970s and is even higher today.
"Thanks to call-out pizza services and all the restaurants that believe you can't have a sandwich without cheese all over it," notes Barnard, "we're now consuming 32 pounds of cheese annually."
Barnard says this excess cheese consumption can cause pain in several ways. While people used to believe that aged cheeses caused the most damage, many now agree that all cheeses are to blame. Besides being a major weight control deterrent, Barnard believes that the inflammation some people experience in response to eating cheese may in be a reaction to the protein found in the cheese -- very similar to an allergic reaction.
Barnard suggests switching to soy cheeses, although he does admit that "most of them taste like glue."