Medical News Today says that certain foods in your diet promote inflammation that can make joint pain worse. Butter, margarine, and some cheeses are high in inflammatory compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Although a certain level of AGEs is always in your body, high levels of AGEs can damage your cells and tissues.
Saturated fats found in full-fat milk, cheese, and butter could contribute to arthritis flare-ups. A 2015 review in Advanced in Nutrition notes that saturated fats in foods act like endotoxins in your bloodstream, which activate your body’s natural defense cells and cause a temporary inflammatory reaction. Some people with joint pain might need to avoid dairy because they might have a sensitivity to casein, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Casein is the main protein found in dairy products.
However, the Arthritis Foundation says the research on the overall impact of dairy on joint pain is mixed. A 2017 review in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition shows that consuming dairy products can reduce inflammation. Similarly, a 2019 article in the European Journal of Nutrition found a higher intake of full-fat dairy and Dutch cheese, particularly semi-hard cheeses, was linked to a lower likelihood of having knee osteoarthritis.