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

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Section Introduction and Contents

New to Nutritional Therapy?
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Get Started Introduction

Welcome to Nutritional Therapy for IBD’s Patient Pathway. Patient Pathway offers information about evidence-based nutritional options for patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. These options may be used with medications in a supportive role (in combination with pharmaceutical therapy). Some options may be used as primary therapy for select patients. Patient Pathway is built around An Option for Every Patient, a patient-centric approach that seeks to match each patient with the dietary approach that best fits their needs and interest. In addition to information, Patient Pathway offers lifestyle support, community, and recipes.

The Get Started Section introduces the concept of nutritional therapy and provides considerations for when to select one option over another. Once you know which option(s) you would like to consider, you can explore them more thoroughly in the Dietary Options section.

blog post

Lindsey Albenberg, DO
Dietary approaches just make sense.

Please review our guidelines before beginning this journey:

Nutritional Therapy Guidelines

  1. This resource is intended to complement the care provided by your medical team. Your IBD care team can help evaluate an optimal nutritional approach based on all of the factors specific to you and can ensure nutritional adequacy.
  2. The goal of nutritional therapy is to improve health, reach remission, and/or achieve higher levels of healing, not to be med-free. The greatest threat posed by IBD is the damage that can occur if the disease is allowed to go unchecked. Adding medications to nutritional therapy is normal and not a failure; adjustments in medications and nutrition are part of the normal process to attain the highest levels of remission.
  3. Resolution of symptoms is not always indicative of reduced inflammation or mucosal healing. Nutritional therapy should be monitored using the same tools and evaluation standards as pharmaceutical therapy: bloodwork, fecal calprotectin, and endoscopy.
  4. A focus on food diversity and variety is essential for success. Successful use of dietary therapy requires embracing the diversity of healthy whole foods that are included in your dietary plan, especially fruits and vegetables. When disease is active, foods may need to be introduced slowly until symptoms subside. If you are unable to advance to the broader diet, your management plan should be re-evaluated with your care team.
  5. *** Do not take medical advice from the Internet. *** Always consult your medical team before modifying your therapy.

Get Started Contents

What Is Nutritional Therapy?

Defines various aspects of nutritional therapy

Enteral Nutrition

Introduces the concept of enteral nutrition (EEN and PEN)

Therapeutic Diets

Introduction to the concept of a therapeutic diet

Focus on Variety within Therapeutic Diets

While therapeutic diets are frequently referred to as "restrictive" and sometimes termed "exclusion" diets, long-term healthy use requires maximizing diversity of foods within the parameters of the diet.

Therapeutic Diets Comparison

Overview of the basics of each therapeutic diet

Healthy Eating Options for IBD

Nutritional therapy options that provide benefit to IBD patients while being less restrictive and requiring fewer lifestyle commitments

Considerations for Persistent Symptoms

When inflammation levels are low but some symptoms persist, these dietary techniques can help resolve those lingering symptoms.

Malnutrition and IBD

Malnutrition remains a common IBD complication