Irritable bowel diseases can bury you in a constant state of fear. Every decision about what to eat or not becomes a major choice that has the potential to upend your day. New guidelines are hoping to help you navigate this mine-ridden terrain.
Irritable bowel disease (IBD) is dependent on genetics as well as environmental factors like diet. It triggers an excessive immune response to result in inflammation leading to pain and a host of other symptoms. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are both forms of IBD.
The International Organization of IBD (IOIBD) recently reviewed the best available evidence to highlight effective dietary measures for IBD. Following the review, they released some guidelines on how to eat to manage Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
They mentioned that in many cases, there was not sufficient evidence to recommend specific diets, like the Mediterranean, Keto, or FODMAP diets. They did not rule out efficacy either, just that more research was required.
Efforts focused largely on dietary components and additives, looking mainly at those that are featured in most people’s diets. Generally, they found high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables were beneficial, likely due to fiber’s effect on short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s).
People with IBD tend to have low levels of SCFA’s in their colon, and fiber can help boost the production of these important bacterial enzymes.
Here is a brief list of foods the IOIBD recommends:
|Food||If You Have Crohn’s Disease||If You Have Ulcerative Colitis|
|Fruits||Increase intake||Insufficient evidence|
|Veggies||Increase intake||Insufficient evidence|
|Red/Processed Meat||Insufficient evidence||Decrease intake|
|Unpasteurized dairy||Best to avoid||Best to avoid|
|Dietary Fat||Decrease saturated and trans-fat intake||Decrease consumption of palm oil, coconut oil, dairy fat/Boost intake of omega-3 from fish.|
|Food Additives||Decrease intake of foods with maltodextrin||Decrease intake of foods with maltodextrin|
They also found other additives like thickeners, colors, and sulfites should be limited.
Although these are good guidelines to start with, there is likely more information on the way. For the most part, the advice seems to be to eat more plant-based foods, less processed ones, and experiment with what works for you.