Our group has just had published a review of dietary treatment in Crohn’s disease and our latest research on the effect of diet on Crohn’s disease. Diet must play an important part in the origins of Crohn’s disease and evidence for this comes from a number of different sources.
Firstly, Crohn’s disease can be treated by giving them a simple or elemental diet composed of simple fat molecules amino acids and sugars. In some way the more the complex foods which people eat trigger an immune reaction in the gut or alter the balance of good and bad bacteria.
Secondly, it has been shown in a number of studies that lack of dietary fibre is an important risk factor for developing Crohns disease many years in the future, possibly by its effect on the balance of good and bad bacteria.
Thirdly, we were the first group to show that obesity increases the risk of developing adult forms of Crohn’s disease. We now know that overnutrition has an effect to cause inflammation in a number of body organs including the gut.
By looking at antibodies generated by patients to food and avoiding those foods to which the patient is reacting, we have shown benefits equivalent to those seen with other drug treatments. The food most likely to be implicated in worsening Crohn’s disease and whose avoidance can most improve symptoms include all forms of red meat and eggs and milk.