Diet and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Clinical Trial

Some of the most common questions I get asked about my ulcerative colitis are related to diet. It’s a frequent topic of discussion in the IBD support group I facilitate. It makes sense: inflammatory bowel disease affects the digestive system, and if I could cure myself through diet, I’d jump at the chance. But I dread talking about diet.

One of the most frustrating things about diet and IBD is the lack of research. I’ve found that doctors are sometimes reluctant to discuss the role of diet in IBD, or simply say that it doesn’t matter. Fortunately, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation has been making an effort to change that. A clinical trial is currently enrolling individuals with mild to moderate Crohn’s disease to test two diets:

  • The Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Similar to the Paleo diet, the SCD eliminates processed foods, grains, soy, lactose, and some other foods.

  • The Mediterranean diet, which includes foods like fish, olive oil, low fat dairy, herbs, and plants.

Participants in the study will be assigned to one of the diets for 12 weeks. For the first six weeks, they will be provided with all of their meals, and for the next six weeks, they will stick to the diet on their own. Participants will also make three visits throughout the study to one of the study sites located throughout the US.

I don’t qualify, but if you do qualify it may be worth checking out. It sounds like an interesting study and I hope there will be more studies like this one that will provide useful information for those of us with IBD. While it may not be possible to cure IBD through diet (I personally don’t believe I would have attained remission without medication), more information in this area can only be a good thing.