Our four research themes encompass exploring the role of nutrition in MS using national and international datasets, understanding the lived experiences of people in the MS community, providing co-designed nutrition education on healthy eating for people with MS, and conducting dietary trials to advance interventions for reducing MS symptoms and slowing its progression.

The role of nutrition in MS

We are analysing data from studies around the world to explore whether certain diets, foods, or nutrients might be linked to lower risk of developing MS. We are also investigating whether diet might influence disease progression.

Here’s what our research shows so far.

A healthy dietary pattern (high in poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, legumes) is linked to lower risk of MS

We identified two major dietary patterns – healthy (high in poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, and legumes) and Western or “unhealthy.”  Following healthy eating guidelines may be beneficial if you are at high risk of developing MS. The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest two servings of oily fish a week.

Read the research

A Mediterranean diet with unprocessed red meat is linked to lower risk of MS

A study of Australian adults found that a Mediterranean diet, including unprocessed red meat, was associated with a reduced risk of MS. The addition of unprocessed red meat to a Mediterranean diet may be beneficial for those at high risk of MS.

It is important to note that the maximum number of weekly serves of lean red meat recommended for Australian adults is seven (where one serve = 65 grams). In general, young Australian women are advised to eat more red meat, while Australian adult men need to eat less red meat.

Read the research

Higher oily fish consumption is linked to lower risk of MS

Higher tinned fish consumption (equivalent to two servings per week) was associated with a 41% reduced risk of MS. Tinned fish is predominantly oily (e.g., salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna). Oily fish is high in vitamin D and very long chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, both of which may be beneficial in relation to MS.

Read the research

Higher yoghurt consumption is linked to lower risk of MS

An Australian case-control study showed that while eating a range of dairy products was not associated with MS, higher yogurt consumption was associated with reduced likelihood of MS.

Read the research

A more inflammatory diet is linked to higher risk of MS

In women, a higher dietary inflammation score (eating more pro-inflammatory foods) was associated with an increased likelihood of MS, but there was no association between dietary inflammation score and MS in men.

Read the research

Ultra-processed foods are linked to higher risk of MS

Higher consumption of ultra-processed foods (e.g. packaged snacks, confectionery, instant/ready-to-eat meals, margarine, processed meats, pastries) was associated with increased likelihood of MS.

Read the research

What's next?

In upcoming projects, we’ll be exploring if there is a link between the paleo diet and the risk of MS, and diet and the risk of MS in childhood. We’ll also be examining whether disease progression is linked with different diets, such as Mediterranean, paleo, dairy, fish, meat, ultra-processed foods, and omega-3-rich diets. 

Lived experience

To meet the needs, values, and preferences of people with MS, our research program is based on conversations, collaboration, and co-design with the MS community.


Our research aims to understand the reasons and motivations behind food choices and dietary behaviours, uncovering trends in thoughts and opinions about diet, and leading to ideas for future research.


Engaging with the MS community helps us to identify and prioritise dietary issues that are important to the MS community. The findings will inform the development of education materials, including content for nutrition education programs.

Findings so far

Our findings reveal that people with MS are motivated to make dietary changes. They want evidence-based information, prefer to receive dietary advice from their neurologist rather than online, and want nutrition education targeted to MS.

Read the research – article 1

Read the research – article 2

What's next?

We will investigate the dietary values, attitudes and behaviours, and barriers to healthy eating of people with more advanced MS, carers of people with MS, and MS health professionals. Through in-depth interviews and focus groups, we will delve into participants’ histories, perspectives and experiences of diet and independence in meal preparation.


Online information about diet and MS is confusing, with conflicting claims ranging from vegan to carnivore diets as cures for MS.

To address the community’s need for diet education, we are collaborating with individuals with MS and MS health professionals to develop an online program called “Eating Well with MS.”

We have tested the program with 70 individuals with MS and are currently further developing it. We plan to conduct a larger trial to assess its effectiveness in enhancing diet quality. We aim to make the program freely accessible to individuals with MS within five years.

Eating Well with MS aims to empower you with knowledge and skills to

  • Manage your MS symptoms through healthy eating.
  • Assess the quality of your eating habits.
  • Select, prepare, and cook healthy meals.
  • Judge the credibility of special diets that are marketed to people with MS.
  • Understand how researchers develop the evidence in the field of nutrition and MS.

What's next?

We’ll be working with the MS community to further develop and tailor the content of Eating Well with MS. We plan to run a larger clinical trial to test the study.

To stay up to date with news on Eating Well with MS, complete our contact us form.

Dietary trials

We are in the process of developing our research to the dietary trials stage. This includes conducting a large national clinical trial to test the effectiveness of our online nutrition education program in improving diet quality among people with MS. Additionally, we are developing rigorous protocols for dietary trials aimed at reducing symptoms and slowing disease progression.

To stay informed about upcoming clinical trials, visit our contact us page. By signing up for our mailing list, you will receive notifications about upcoming trials and opportunities to participate in research.