Diet is a powerful tool when used as part of a comprehensive medical management plan. Expanding research shows a number of dietary IBD therapies to be effective, and while many have commonalities, some also have subtle to significant differences. Given patients' microbial and genetic diversity, the optimal therapeutic approach is often contingent on the individual, and as a result, is best achieved through a process of personalization. Considering all of these factors, dietary therapy can prove challenging to navigate. A closer investigation will provide a framework to become familiar with the options available in nutritional therapy for IBD.

Nutritional Updates from ECCO 2021

The 16th Congress of the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation was held virtually on July 2-3 and July 8-10, 2021. Below find a list of some of the nutritional highlights from the meeting.

SCRUMPTIOUS Study Releases SCD Resources for Patients

As a result of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Curriculum – Patient and Caretaker’s Outlooks (SCRUMPTIOUS) Study, Stanford Children’s Health released a host of SCD resources available to both study participants and the public. This new webpage was designed based on their findings from SCRUMPTIOUS: that patients and families desired evidenced-based, reliable diet education.

The EEN Challenge: A World IBD Day Tradition 4 Years Running

In 2017, Kelly Issokoson, MS, RD, of Cedars-Sinai spearheaded the #EENChallenge as a way to raise awareness and show support for EEN therapy in patients with IBD. The EEN challenge consists of one day of consuming only enteral nutrition formula, ideally the same formula Crohn's Disease patients on EEN consume every day while on the therapeutic diet.

What Is Nutritional Therapy?

Nutritional therapy consists of the use of therapeutic diets and/or enteral nutrition in patients with IBD, with the goal of both improving clinical symptoms and reducing inflammation, leading to induction and/or maintenance of remission. It can be utilized as primary therapy when medically appropriate or as adjunctive therapy with immune suppression and biologics and is well tolerated, with patients reporting improved quality of life (Sandell A et al). Progress should be evaluated using the same standard and techniques as pharmaceutical therapy, by monitoring inflammation via laboratory work and endoscopy, as well as assessing clinical symptoms.

Therapeutic Diets

Therapeutic diets are whole-food based, nutritionally balanced dietary plans that improve symptoms, reduce inflammation, and aid in mucosal healing. Items that have been shown to be harmful (processed foods and additives) are eliminated and items with potential deleterious effects in IBD (gluten, sugar, and dairy) are either eliminated or limited, while the quantity and variety of beneficial fruits and vegetables are increased.

Enteral Nutrition

Enteral nutrition involves the use of a nutritionally complete liquid diet, often formula-based. It includes Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN), which consists solely (exclusively) of a liquid diet with no solid food for 6-8 weeks, sometimes up to 12 weeks, and Partial Enteral Nutrition (PEN), in which a combination of liquid nutrition and solid foods is consumed.

Can Diet Impact IBD-related Conditions of Depression and Anxiety?

Patients with IBD suffer disproportionally higher rates of depression and anxiety, which are associated with a lower quality of life (Bernstein CN) (Byrne G et al) and correlated with active disease (Marrie RA et al). Furthermore, anxiety, depression, and fatigue are reported to be the most common severe symptoms of IBD in a recent international survey of patients (Rubin DT et al). Can diet impact the gut microbiota to influence the gut-brain axis and subsequently our mental health?


Patient Pathway

Are you or is someone you love a patient with IBD looking for more information on nutritional therapy? Visit the Patient Pathway for helpful resources.

Clinician Resources Overview

Are you a medical professional looking for more information on integrating nutritional therapy into your practice? Visit our Clinician Resources.

Latest Presentations from the Medical Experts

NT for IBD Presentations at the 2020 NASPGHAN Annual Meeting:

  • Why Diet Therapies for IBD?
    Presented by: Lindsey Albenberg, DO
  • Putting out the Fire with EEN: Anti-inflammatory Effects of Nutritional Therapy in Crohn's Disease
    Presented by: Andrew S. Day, MB, ChB, MD, FRACP, AGAF
  • Offering Nutritional Therapies to Patients with IBD: Even if You're not an Expert
    Presented by: Kaylie Nguyen, MSN, PNP and Venus S. Kalami, MNSP, RDN
  • Diet in IBD: From the Microbiome and Beyond
    Presented by: David Suskind, MD
  • Crohn's Disease Exclusion Diet: A Novel Dietary Therapy for the Treatment of Uncomplicated Crohn's Disease
    Presented by: Arie Levine, MD

About Us

Nutritional Therapy for IBD is a new 501c3 established to promote awareness of dietary options for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, providing educational resources to assist in the implementation of nutritional therapy into clinical practice. It is an independent organization with no affiliations to industry, corporations, or advocacy groups.