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What you need to know about diet and nutritional therapies for IBD patients

In our latest clinical practice update, experts outline best practice advice statements for how to advise your IBD patients on diet.
Optimal Nutrition Approach Figure 1
Optimal Nutrition Approach Figure 1

Clinicians and patients alike often struggle with feelings of uncertainty regarding the best diet for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). AGA’s latest CPU provides 12 best practices on diet and nutritional therapies to help guide treatment for your IBD patients. Co-authored by Drs. Jana Hashash, James Lewis and David Binion, along with registered dietician Jaclyn Elkins, the experts advise on diet, nutritional therapies and malnutrition for IBD patients across the spectrum of disease activity.

Quick watch:

Authors Drs. Jana Hashash and David Binion highlight why this clinical guidance is so important for clinicians caring for patients with IBD.

Key takeaways

  • Advise all patients to follow a Mediterranean diet rich in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, monounsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. No diet has consistently been found to decrease the rate of flares in adults with IBD. A diet low in red and processed meat may reduce ulcerative colitis flares, but has not been found to reduce relapse in Crohn’s disease.

  • Exclusive enteral nutrition using liquid nutrition formulations is an effective therapy for induction of clinical remission and endoscopic response in Crohn’s disease, with stronger evidence in children than adults. Exclusive enteral nutrition may be considered as a steroid-sparing bridge therapy for patients with Crohn’s disease. See figure 2.

  • Regularly screen all IBD patients for malnutrition. Assess for signs and symptoms such as unintended weight loss, edema, fluid retention and fat and muscle mass loss. In addition, monitor all patients with IBD for vitamin D, iron and vitamin B12 deficiency (especially in patients with significant ileal disease).

Read the full AGA Clinical Practice Update on Diet and Nutritional Therapies in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Expert Review, published in the March issue of Gastroenterology.

See the full 12 best practice advice statements on our clinical guidance page. 

AGA clinical guidance

Find the latest evidence-based recommendations for treating your patients.