• Welcome to Crohn's Forum, a support group for people with all forms of IBD. While this community is not a substitute for doctor's advice and we cannot treat or diagnose, we find being able to communicate with others who have IBD is invaluable as we navigate our struggles and celebrate our successes. We invite you to join us.

Gut inflammation and dietary study

my little penguin

Staff member
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A higher intake of animal and processed foods, alcohol and sugar is associated with higher levels of intestinal inflammatory markers, researchers say.

"It was surprising, to see such a clear association between what we consider a healthy diet and a healthy gut microbiota composition, and on the other hand less healthy dietary patterns associated with pathobionts and inflammatory markers," said Laura Bolte of the University of Groningen and Dr. Rinse Weersma of University Medical Centre Grongingen, in the Netherlands.

"This was not only observed in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), but also in healthy controls, implying a role for dietary strategies already at the public-health level," they told Reuters Health in a joint email.

As reported in Gut, the two researchers and their colleagues investigated the relationship between 173 dietary factors and the microbiome of 1,425 individuals spanning four cohorts: IBS (223 individuals) Crohn's disease (CD, 205), ulcerative colitis (UC, 126), and controls (871).

Across cohorts, the mean age ranged from 41 to 47; men made up about half of the UC and control groups, about a third of the CD group and less than a fifth of the IBS group.

Dietary intake was assessed through food-frequency questionnaires, and shotgun metagenomic sequencing was used to profile gut microbial composition and function.

Among the findings with regard to diet, individuals with IBS consumed less bread, potatoes, cheese, spreads and yogurt drinks than controls, which was reflected by a lower protein and plant protein intake. Specifically, protein intake was 68.1 g/day for IBS versus 74.8 g/day for controls and for plant protein, 27.3 g/day versus 30.8 g/day.

Protein and vegetable intake was also lower in CD compared with controls, at 67.1 g/day versus 74.8 g/day and 98.1 g/day versus 109.4 g/day, respectively.

Overall, the researchers identified 38 associations between dietary patterns and microbial clusters. In a meta-analysis across cohorts, 61 individual foods and nutrients were associated with 61 species and 249 metabolic pathways.

For example, processed foods and animal-derived foods were consistently associated with more Firmicutes, Ruminococcus species of the Blautia genus and endotoxin-synthesis pathways. The opposite was true for plant foods and fish, which were positively associated with short-chain fatty acid-producing commensals and pathways of nutrient metabolism.

Bolte and Dr. Weersma said, "Our study provides additional support for the idea that diet can be a rational strategy for the management of chronic inflammatory disorders of modern society. Western diet and food industrialization parallel the rising incidence of IBD in previously considered low-risk countries, and functional studies already show that additives included during food processing, such as artificial sweeteners, are associated with pro-inflammatory changes in the gut microbiome."

"All this evidence adds to the importance of diet for disease development," they said. "Therefore, it is important that we promote healthier dietary habits as clinicians and continue the investigation of consequences of diet and lifestyle."

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center, in Boston, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health by email, "We have known that processed foods negatively impact the gut microbiota while less processed (foods) have a positive impact on the gut microbiota. Also, it is not surprising that plant-based foods have the most beneficial profile."

"We must remember that these are associations," she noted. "These provide additional insight on the importance of a diet that is minimally processed, but associations are just that. Genetics, race/ethnicity, and environmental influences may all have an impact on inflammation. It is highly unlikely that the authors accounted for any of these factors. Indeed, this is not noted in the manuscript."

Diet High in Animal, Processed Foods and Alcohol, Sugar Tied to Inflamed Gut Microbiome
By Marilynn Larkin
April 16, 2021
It seems to correlate to the results in the CDED research.We are trying that diet now on advice from GI and working with a registered dietitian (alongside meds). Although CDED focusses on chicken breast and eggs as protein staples rather than fish.

I can't wait to repeat fcals and see how it works.


Well-known member
There is a lot of good evidence that CDED can work to kick back inflammation. Actually better info than SCD. I saw the doc from Israel who came up with the diet speak at a conference. The video is protected somehow and I can’t send it. All good stuff though.
I was able to access the training info for professionals and I am sold! Well...enough to be giving it 100% effort. If it doesn't work ( they say about 20% don't respond to diet) at least I can feel sure we tried. The research is solid. I am cooking all day. But....we are still locked down up here so there is time.


Well-known member
20% don’t respond? That’s an awfully low number. The response rates I have seen are more like only 30-40% responding. Still not bad. Not worse than the drugs anyway and since it’s just food I think it is worth a shot. Well obviously since we did SCD for a year and half.

There is enough of an overlap between SCD and CDED that if you need any recipes I might be able to help you. There are also lots of SCD sites with recipes and some of them also break out CDED recipes as well. But honestly CDED is so much easier that you might not need them.

Good luck! I am rooting for you. We are about to try vegan again with a hyper nourishing phase designed for people with auto immune diseases. Lots and lots of kale, spinach, broccoli etc smoothies. A good deal of ground flax and chia seeds. No sugar. No processed foods etc.

Yeah I know all the raw veggies potentially will aggravate her gut but at this point we have to try something.
That 20% number is from clinical trials(2019 if I remember correctly) and the research looks very solid. There were even a handful of patients who refused the PEN part of the diet, did only the food part, and went into remission. We also did SCD for about a year and a half. I have the books and experience there, and find CDED (we are 3 weeks in) to be much easier because there are less options. Sounds counterintuitive, but we just get more creative with fewer foods. The kids are motivated because cheat days exist after week 12 so with some rules they can be "normal" on the weekends with friends.
But I'm waiting for FCALS -H gets one in a few weeks, and both kids will have them at week 12 (August).
One thing that I noticed with H: on SCD the almond flour baked goods made her feel terrible. And on CDED similarly the rice flour baked goods make her feel awful. Normal diet breads make her feel awful. What is that? We are working with rice flour crepes, and those are fine for her but nothing....fluffy. No leavening in those rice flour breads either...only eggs.
I hope the vegan diet helps. We did that too, and it was the only diet that H did that visibly reduced her lifelong bloating. Unfortunately that was the diet C was diagnosed on, it exacerbated his symptoms. Different disease patterns.
I'd be worries about the fiber, but I think with O you will quickly know if it is helping or hurting. It's always hard to transition to a new diet. Commiseration from here.
Hope it helps
We did it for a bit with Ds
Definitely different but very intensive when using no processed foods etc..,
MLP did you have good results? I am cooking a lot - like 3-5 hours most days. But now I have a feel for what they like and it's getting easier. The instant pot is a life saver for making marinara, pulled chicken breast, bbq sauce, applesauce. Sometimes the challenge is just getting the mandatory items all in. It's a very filling diet. I'm doing it with them, minus the Ensure because let's face it, that stuff is gross. Don't tell the kids.

my little penguin

Staff member
Ds did it for different reasons (unexplained abdominal pain , minor inflammation in the rectum, temesus etc..) not true flare.
We found beginning foods that made him “feel” better on it
It stopped his minor inflammation.
We stopped due to allergic reactions .
Ds had been allergic to tree nuts (epi pen kind)
He passed in office food challenges the year before

He did 8 weeks of een no other food then
But while on cded
We figured out he started reacting again to tree nuts due to holding all food (without any tree nuts after passing the food challenges a year before ) .
At the beginning of cded I believe no nuts
Then nut Flours were added later
As we added more of them more abdominal pain on some and then later hives
So per allergist allergic again
Later in cded he added one fish at a time
Same thing abdominal pain on some and hives on others -so per allergist- hello fish allergy

So while most of the foods helped
We stopped due to not being able to eat nuts and fish
He did stick with some core foods
Eggs, chicken , eggplant , summer squash’s , potatoes etc... just no longer on the diet
Nuts and fish are not required on CDED but they are allowed in small quantities after week 6, I believe. 8 walnuts or almonds per day, unprocessed. 1 serving of fish can replace the chicken one time per week. That's just for anyone who is thinking about trying it.
Your ds is so allergic it must be very difficult to try any restrictive diet. Must have been very disappointing for the allergies to return.

Lady Organic

Staff member
I have also heard 20% of people do not respond to an anti-inflammatory diet, meaning other variables-factors should be explored. I understand thats my case unfortunately, as I have tried almost all possible food options and restrictions without luck. I think or thought I had a positive response at first, but at the end, it did not help prevent relapse. Would my case be worst without the diet? its a valid question. Nevertheless I still continue the IBD-AID type of diet and always eat organic in order to give my health the best chance possible and in hope it can also help my GI track. i just do the best I can as I regret so much eating so much crap and junk especially in my teen years and young adulthood.