People Try The Whole30 Elimination Diet
Should You Try a Special Diet for Crohn’s Disease?
Don't Miss This
Sign Up for Our Living with Crohn's Disease Newsletter
Thanks for signing up!
The foods we eat can play a role in how good we feel on any given day — and that’s especially true for people with Crohn’s disease. Although there's no such thing as a cure-all Crohn's diet, adapting what you eat to try to ease the specific effects you’re dealing with may help you avoid unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, and cramps, says Christine Lothen-Kline, RD, a registered dietitian with Health Promotion On Call in Columbia, Maryland, and who has Crohn’s disease herself.
With that goal in mind, many people with Crohn’s have tried a number of specific eating plans. If you are considering trying a special diet, remember that dietary changes should never replace medical treatment for Crohn’s, and you should always talk with your doctor first.
Here’s a rundown of alternative diets that may help.
Specific Carbohydrate Diet
Popularized by the nutrition book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, this diet limits certain types of carbohydrates that people with Crohn’s may have trouble digesting, like dairy products and whole grains, Lothen-Kline says. The diet can come in handy when symptoms are raging. “Someone with Crohn’s may find they can tolerate dairy when in remission, but during a flare, they need to steer clear of it,” she says.
To find out more about which carbs are okay and which aren’t on this diet, check out the Specific Carbohydrate Diet website.
Should you go gluten-free? This popular diet eliminates all foods that contain gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat and rye, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Permissible alternatives include rice, corn, and quinoa.
According to David Vastola, DO, a gastroenterologist in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, a gluten-free diet won’t be beneficial unless you also have celiac disease, the autoimmune disorder that causes a reaction to gluten. But Paul Lebovitz, MD, a gastroenterologist at Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, believes a gluten-free plan can still be valuable because it might encourage you to eat more nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
This diet minimizes the intake of foods like nuts and raw produce that can add bulk to the stool. Passing bulky waste can be painful for people with Crohn’s, who often have narrowed portions in their bowels, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
“During a flare, consuming a lot of high-fiber foods can feel like a scouring brush going through your GI tract,” Lothen-Kline says. But because a low-residue diet eliminates so many healthy foods, it's more of a temporary fix than a long-term plan, she adds. Dr. Vastola agrees, pointing out that not eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Find out more about food restrictions in a low-residue diet from the Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
This eating plan eliminates foods that contain lactose, which the NIDDK defines as a sugar found in milk and milk products. Some people with Crohn’s disease lack adequate amounts of lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose, Vastola says. Then, when they consume lactose, it isn't properly digested and symptoms like diarrhea can result. For this reason, some may find relief with a lactose-free diet.
When Lothen-Kline suspects her clients may have a problem with lactose, she does a cautious challenge, removing all lactose-containing foods for a period of time and then slowly adding them back to gauge the digestive system’s reaction. Talk to your doctor about trying something similar if you suspect you may have a problem with lactose.
Low FODMAP Diet
This diet reduces or eliminates foods rich in FODMAPs, certain carbohydrates that are not well digested in the small intestine, such as apples and yogurt, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. A study published in 2013 in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology found that a diet low in FODMAPs may help reduce symptoms in those with Crohn’s, though it doesn’t affect the severity of the disease.
Here’s a breakdown of which foods have FODMAPs and which don’t.
Think of this as an emergency-only Crohn’s diet. Fluid-only diets are only recommended for people with Crohn’s when their symptoms flare up or when they have a partial obstruction in the bowel, Lothen-Kline says. A liquid diet, overseen by a doctor, usually consists of elemental formulas given by mouth or through a feeding tube. These special liquids are easier on the digestive tract than regular food. “Everything in the formula has pretty much already been broken down,” Lothen-Kline says. “Many times they taste horrible — you’re really not eating out of pleasure.”
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, there aren’t any food remedies guaranteed to alleviate your Crohn’s disease symptoms. Instead, the best eating plan is one that makes you feel healthy while still allowing you to enjoy your meals and get beneficial nutrients, Dr. Lebovitz says.
“We want people with Crohn’s to still have plenty of joyfulness,” he adds.
Video: I Tried The "Military" Diet For A Week
2015’s Best-Looking SUVs
How to Make Tropical, High Protein, Grain Free Cake
How to Shrink the Waist of Jeans
How to Pull Weeds
Dit is waar het Temptation Island filmpje van Rosanna vandaan komt
Brad Pitt: The Celibate It’s another part of his self improvement’ appaz
How to Jump Start your Career Search
Kim Kardashian West Just Wore an Outfit Made Entirely Out of Dollar Bills
WikiHow:TemplatesSpecific Article Awards
10 Buzzy New Books to Read ThisSummer