In a stark warning issued by his doctors, the Argentine pontiff was told he had to lose at least 1st 4lbs or face the possibility of going under the knife. The pope has been advised to eat small bowls of rice at meals and plenty of fruit, veg, olive oil and fish, sources in Rome said. They told The Sun: “If he sticks to the doctors’ advice he’ll be fine but he’s well known for his healthy appetite.”
In what will no doubt come as a huge disappointment to the food loving pontiff, he has also been banned from eating cake.
The 84-year-old Argentine has been afflicted by the painful nerve condition for decades.
At times it has left him almost paralysed, as was the case in 2007 after he was struck down by a severe attack.
Over the past week, Pope Francis has once again struggled with excruciating pain caused by his sciatica.
He was forced to postpone a number of events at the Vatican last weekend and on Friday was unable to stand during a meeting with members of the Roman Rota.
Addressing his audience, Pope Francis said: “I would like to speak to you standing up but sciatica is a troublesome guest.
“So I apologise and will speak sitting down.”
Greeting the team at the Vatican, the football mad pope said: “In Argentina we dance the tango, and the tango is the two-by-four music.
“You are 4-2 today [referring to the previous night’s victory] – that’s good.
“Congratulations and courage.”