POPE Francis has been urged to cut out pasta and to diet to help cure his long-term back pain.
Doctors have told the food-loving Pontiff, 84, to lose at least 1st 4lbs to ease his sciatica amid rumours he may need an operation if he does not.
He has had to miss engagements in the Vatican because of the pain and it is feared a long-planned trip to Iraq in March may also be axed.
Yesterday, he had to sit during an audience with cardinals.
He told them: “I should be speaking to you standing up but as you know my sciatica is very painful — it is a very hostile visitor.
“So if you will bear with me, and I ask your forgiveness, I will address you sitting down.’’
Sources in Rome said the Pope has been advised to eat small bowls of rice at meals and plenty of fruit, veg, olive oil and fish.
He must limit pasta and pizza. Cakes are banned.
One said: “If he sticks to the doctors’ advice he’ll be fine but he’s well known for his healthy appetite.”
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The Pope got his Covid jab despite the pain and has urged Catholics to follow his lead, calling it an “ethical duty”.
His personal doctor, Fabrizio Soccorsi, 78, died of complications from coronavirus.
He was being treated for cancer.
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