For several decades representatives of Scandinavian health food movements have categorically recommended that victims of rheumatoid arthritis should switch to a vegetarian diet to obtain a cure for the disease. A very strict vegan diet (i.e., completely lacking in animal protein) is usually recommended, with certain features said to be particularly beneficial to rheumatic patients. These notions have been widely disseminated and have been adopted with remarkable faith by the public. Although a measure of support for the subjective palliative effects of a vegan diet has derived from certain medical studies, it should be borne in mind that, apart from exceptional cases, the inflammatory joint condition has persisted unabated; nor has the diet shown any tendency to forestall subsequent joint damage. More recent studies of the importance of various dietary factors vis-à-vis rheumatoid arthritis have to some extent improved our understanding of vegan diets, and shown there to be features of this type of diet which might contribute to the subjective improvement experienced by patients. The findings of such studies may provide a basis for speculation as to the form a more rational health food diet for rheumatic patients in the future.