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Dietary Options

Nutritional Therapy Support for Patients with Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis

Dietary Options

Section Introduction and Contents

Learn more about the various dietary options that may be beneficial to patients with IBD


Dietary Options Introduction

There are many different options for nutritional therapy for IBD, falling in a variety of categories to meet the needs of every patient. Even if dietary therapy is not appropriate for you today, knowledge of the options can be helpful at any stage of your journey.

Which Approach Is Right for Me?

At this time, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutritional therapy for IBD. Every patient is unique in the state of their disease, their food tolerances, and their lifestyle, so multiple options need to be considered to find the right approach for you. There are two long-term whole-foods-based approaches that address nutritional therapy differently: Healthy Eating Options for IBD and Therapeutic Diets.

Healthy Eating for IBD

Healthy Eating Options for IBD is a practical adjunctive therapy approach that may appeal to a broader base of patients with IBD because it has a less significant impact on lifestyle. These options are capable of reducing symptoms and inflammation, improving overall health, and improving quality of life for patients with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. They were not designed specifically to treat IBD and are not considered likely to be appropriate for primary therapy, but are considered beneficial when used in combination with medications.

Therapeutic Diets

Therapeutic Diets have been designed specifically to address IBD/auto-immune disorders. They have the potential to most significantly affect inflammation. In some very specific situations, they may be considered for use as primary therapy. Therapeutic diets have explicit rules regarding included and excluded foods, and strict compliance is essential for success. Because they make larger demands on time, money, and lifestyle, they are most appropriate for only those patients who are most motivated to make significant lifestyle changes in order to maximize the benefits of dietary therapy.

What to Do about Persistent Symptoms?

If your inflammation levels are low and you are happy with your current therapy regimen, but you still experience lingering symptoms, there are some dietary techniques you can adopt to manage those symptoms. Eliminating lactose, dairy, and/or gluten may address common intolerances in IBD. Using an elimination diet to identifying trigger foods can help tailor your diet to your tolerances. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is common in patients with IBD, so adopting a short-term course of the Low-FODMAP Diet may improve related symptoms.

Enteral Nutrition

Including a liquid/formula diet component has been shown to be helpful for inducing (EEN | PEN in the form of CDED) or maintaining (PEN) remission, among other things. Enteral nutrition options can be further examined below.

New to this Journey?

Considering nutritional therapy can be overwhelming at first. There are many options, many factors to consider, and many ways to begin. There is no one right path for everyone. Adoption of nutritional therapy is more than just changing the way you eat, it can affect all aspects of your lifestyle, and those considering this journey should be prepared and well-informed. Enter the Get Started Station to begin.