The medical community does not recognize or recommend a specific diet for either of the main forms of IBD (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis). Instead, physicians and patients are encouraged to work together to develop an individualized eating plan.
Unfortunately, this leaves people who have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis to a period of trial-and-error concerning food. The goal should be a healthy diet that does not add to the gastrointestinal distress. This can be a source of frustration because developing an eating plan is a moving target. The course of IBD is changeable, and a diet and treatment plan that works for a time may unexpectedly begin to fail.
However, with these particulars in mind, there are some general guidelines that may help in developing a personal eating plan. While not a part of any formal diet, the following tips can be helpful for people with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis who are working towards finding the diet that is most beneficial for them.
- Foods high in fiber, such as popcorn, nuts, and seeds may result in cramping or diarrhea.
- Greasy or fried foods, or any food that tends to be high in fat, may not be completely absorbed by the digestive tract and could result in intestinal gas and diarrhea.
- Many people are lactose intolerant, and the lactose in milk, cheese, or dairy products may cause abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas and diarrhea.
- Raw fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but may lead to bloating, gas or diarrhea in some people. This is especially true for fibrous fruits and vegetables, and those with seeds.
- Drinking alcoholic beverages may not worsen IBD, but for some people it may have a detrimental effect on symptoms. Additionally, drinking is a personal choice, and the effect of alcohol on the body should be weighed against the importance to quality of life.