Internist Questions Crohn's Disease

Can you suggest a diet for IBD?

I have recently been diagnosed with IBD (Crohn's). My symptoms are mild and my doctor advised me for now to log what I eat in order to identify food triggers. Are there any foods that are universally good or bad for Crohn's?

2 Answers

My short answer is no, there are no foods that are universally bad or good for Crohns. It's controversial because many doctors and patients believe that foods make a difference, but the research that has been done so far shows little no no effect of diet on the course of disease. Changing the diet can change one's bowel habits and change the gut flora, but this does not mean there is a direct effect on the inflammation that is characteristic of Crohns. I personally do not rely on diet to control Crohns disease in my patients, due to lack of good evidence showing that it works. If a patient wants to follow a particular diet, then I am ok with it but I would not expect it to make much difference or reduce the medications needed to control the disease. If diet was truly effective then there would be no need for all of the biologic and immunosuppressive therapies that we have to use frequently.
This is an area of controversy in medicine. I am not aware of any universally accepted foods that are OK.