Differences in dietary habits between patients with inflammatory bowel disease in clinical remission and a healthy population

Authors Mariabeatrice Principi, Giuseppe Losurdo, Andrea Iannone, Antonella Contaldo, Valentina Deflorio, Nunzio Ranaldo, Antonio Pisani, Enzo Ierardi, Alfredo Di Leo, Michele Barone.


Background Although patients with active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) change their dietary habits according to suggestions from their healthcare team, no restriction is required in the remission phase. Accordingly, we compared eating patterns in IBD patients with drug-induced clinical remission with those in healthy subjects.

Methods A total of 150 IBD patients, 84 with Crohn’s disease (CD) and 66 with ulcerative colitis (UC), in clinical remission, receiving immunomodulator/biologic therapy, and 100 healthy volunteers (controls) were enrolled. The IBD diagnosis had previously been established by a combined assessment of symptoms, endoscopy, histology and abdominal imaging. Clinical remission was defined as a Harvey Bradshaw index <5 for CD and a partial Mayo score <2 for UC. An experienced nutritionist guided the compilation of a food diary for 7 days according to current guidelines. Macronutrient and fiber intake was evaluated using dedicated software. Comparison between continuous variables was performed using Student’s t-test or analysis of variance plus Bonferroni post-hoc analysis. Categorical variables were tested with the χ2 test.

Results No difference in protein and carbohydrate intake was observed. IBD patients ate more calories (1970.7±348.4 vs. 1882.1±280.2 kcal/day, P=0.03), more lipids (68.9±15.2 vs. 59.4±19.0 g/day, P<0.001) and less fibers (11.9±4.7 vs. 15.5±8.3 g/day, P<0.001) than controls. No significant difference in total calories, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates or fibers was seen between CD and UC patients.

Conclusion IBD patients have a different macronutrient and fiber intake compared to healthy subjects, even when clinical remission and no symptoms do not dictate dietary restrictions. Therefore, psychological issues may be involved.

Keywords Inflammatory bowel disease, carbohydrates, fibers, lipids, nutrition, disease activity

Ann Gastroenterol 2018; 31 (4): 469-473

Original Articles