There are many different options for nutritional therapy for IBD, falling into a variety of categories to meet the needs of every patient. Knowledge of the options is helpful at any stage of the journey.
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, food tolerances, and lifestyle, so multiple options should be explored to find the best approach. Working with a registered dietitian trained in IBD can help to safely incorporate dietary changes.
Healthy Eating Options
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 have been specifically designed to address IBD/auto-immune disorders. They have the potential to affect inflammation most significantly. In limited clinical settings, some healthcare providers, through shared decision-making with their patients, may trial these diets as primary therapy.
Therapeutic diets have explicit rules regarding included and excluded foods, and strict compliance is essential for success. Because they make more considerable demands on time, money, and lifestyle, they are most appropriate for those patients who are most motivated to make significant lifestyle changes to potentially maximize the benefits of dietary therapy. Read more in considerations to determine whether or not a therapeutic diet is an appropriate option.
Patients are advised to work with their healthcare team, preferably an IBD-trained dietitian when attempting these therapeutic diets.
These diets are listed according to historical timeline of development, with SCD as the first and CDED as the most recent. This order does not indicate preference.
Enteral nutrition involves the use of a nutritionally complete liquid diet that provides either all or a certain percentage of daily calories. This liquid diet is often an over-the-counter meal replacement formula. There are two different forms of enteral nutrition: Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN) and Partial Enteral Nutrition (PEN).
It is important that patients receive guidance from their healthcare professionals to implement Enteral Nutrition.
In cases where inflammation is minimal yet symptoms persist, exploring additional dietary strategies may prove beneficial.
Individuals dealing with both IBD and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may consider a trial of the Low-FODMAP diet for approximately four weeks. Patients seeking to implement a Low-FODMAP diet should consult with a dietary professional as it can be challenging to implement properly and should be used only short term with proper reintroduction of foods.
Patients with IBD also commonly have intolerances or unique foods that trigger symptoms regardless of inflammation levels. Identifying intolerances or triggers and removing them from the diet may resolve lingering symptoms.