• 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.

Sugar?

My brother knows a doctor who swears that if you don't eat sugar your Crohn's will get better. Anyone have any experience with that one way or the other?
 

Trysha

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Topper,
That is a very broad statement and I wonder if that doctor has some controlled studies to prove this point.
If only Crohns could be so easily cured...
In general it is a good idea to reduce the sugar overload which is common in the general population.
Hugs and best wishes
Trysha
 
I did a low carb diet some time ago and it really didn't do ****, if it really helped I think more would be doing it. Maybe it helps, but it likely does not help enough to actually put you into remission. Some people claim they are in remission because of a low card diet but they are always people who don't have a severe case of crohn and they honestly were not on medication at all. I still need to hear about the first person who had a severe case of crohn, went on a low carb diet, did not use meds, and actually stayed in remission bc of the diet. Maybe it helps, maybe it does not, but whatever it does, it doesn't help enough.

I'm not saying don't try it, but there are sites that are just idiotic out there "how SCD cured my Crohn", those are just bs sites. The truth is probably somewhere in between, it might help, but it's not going to suddenly cure you.

The problem I also find with these diets, is that if you follow them, and really follow them, you are restricting yourself in so many ways. Short chain fatty acids are needed to build up your mucosa, which the SCD diet takes out, glucose is needed, the SCD diet might remove too much, calories are needed especially for crohn patients, SCD is super low calorie, all of that are big sacrifices you're making with that kind of diet, so you better make sure it's actuallying going to do something before you start it, because it's not going to be a pick-nick for your body if you need to stick to it. It's already a hard diet to follow for a normal person, let alone someone who has crohn.

Another reason why I became a sceptic of diets is that the elimination of foods is something plenty of people who have crohn already do....many crohn patients simply stop eating, I did that too. That never made me any better, ever, it simply made me skinny, if all it took was eleminating sugar, then how come every person who stops eating (and there are thousands of crohn patients who do this) just seem to get worse, they only get better if the inflammation is stopped and the mucosa heals, it's not liek they got better by eliminating certain foods, they were eliminating ALL foods, and they still got sicker, how come. Whatever diet does, it's not something that will put you into remission I think, crohn seems a lot more complicated to me than just eliminating a food category.

It's the same reason I question liquid diets or diets that are IV diets as a form of therapy for crohn. How is it that people say those things work for crohn because the diet is now liquid or through an IV but not eating at all does nothing for crohn. Or does it work because the form of crohn was so mild that they would have been in remission either way.

I still believe that eliminating specific foods probably help, like lactose for many people, and foods that are proven to have inflammatory elements in them, like tomatoes etc, but I'm not a fan of the low carb diets any longer, mostly because of the calorie restriction, because it didn't do anything at all for me and I followed it incredibly strictly.
 
Last edited:
I have microscopic colitis, another IBD, so this might not relate to crohns, but I'm having some success with diet changes, eating less sugar. I first began eating a paleo/low carb diet a few years ago. And while the diet did not cure me it made a bad situation much better. I went from using the rest room probably 3 to 4 times a day on average to only once or twice. The pain level on the low carb diet dropped considerably also. It used to be before the diet change I was in a good amount of pain all the time. Now only occasionally will I have a cramping problem.

Of late, I've been experimenting further with diet and have found removing beef, gelatin and dairy, basically cow items from the diet, has resulted in a further improved gut. I'm actually well somedays. And my energy levels are much higher. In the recent past I used to fatigue easy, would rest often, and have muscle pain. Now those problems seem to have gone away.

I'm hoping with a little bit of luck the gut will continue to improve and energy levels increase further.

I have another indicator of improved health that I joke about. In the past I've done extreme elimination diets to make myself well. When doing that I found my eyes turned from their typical greenish brown color to bight blue when healthy. I call it my built in mood detector.
 
Sugar or rather too much sugar isn't good for anyone. Puts too much stress on the system. But that can be said of anything we put into our bodies. It's the trial and error you will have to go through to figure out how much is too much. Stop taking it in for a while then slowly add it back and see how you feel.
 

Tesscorm

Moderator
Staff member
Topperdoy,

I responded to you on another thread but don't recall if I mentioned Enteral Nutrition (I probably did :))...

The Enteral Nutrition (also called elemental or just 'liquid') diets are formulas designed to be very easily digested and absorbed. While they do not contain 'medicine', I believe many are medically formulated. They are not the same as the Boost or Ensure that you buy at the grocery store (although, to complicate things... there is a Boost or Ensure available in the UK that I believe is an actual EN formulation). These formulas rest the bowel, have anti-inflammatory properties, can aid in healing and provide nutrition. To induce remission, they are usually used 'exclusively' (with no food) for a period of time (my son was six weeks) and food is then reintroduced.

I know that in the Parents of Kids w/IBD subforum, there is quite a bit of info on EN (although most of it pertains to younger children). As well, there is a subforum under Treatments. I know there is another member here, happy , who has had quite a bit of success using EN and an elimination diet and then very gradually reintroducing foods. She very recently posted her success story (perhaps in the EN subforum???). Hopefully, she will see this and jump in with her knowledge. :)

Good luck!
 
Last edited:

Judith

Crohnsforum Science Advisor
My brother knows a doctor who swears that if you don't eat sugar your Crohn's will get better. Anyone have any experience with that one way or the other?
I wouldnt necessarily word it that way but you can most definately make Crohn's symptoms worse by eating sugar. Here is why:

1. - A major factor in Crohn's disease pathology has to do with overgrowth of microbes in the GI tract. These microbes can be either yeast or bacteria. A happy GI tract has a proportion of each (yeasts and bacteria) in a delicate balance.
- Overgrowth of one or the other can cause problems.
- The best example I can think of offhand are of (sorry guys this probably wont help you much):
- Vaginal yeast overgrowth = Yeast Infection
- Vaginal bacterial overgrowth = Bacterial Vaginosis

- Yeast Infection and Bacterial Vaginosis are due to an overgrowth of either yeast or bacteria in the vagina - a happy vagina has both yeast and bacterial species in a delicate balance. If anyone has had either type of infection you know how uncomfortable it can be. Similarly, an imbalance in GI tract microbes can wreak havoc on the mucosa of the gastrointestinal system.

2. The delicate balance in GI tract microbes is complicated. One of the easiest ways to swing that balance out of whack is with sugar.

- I have cultured (grown) countless species and strains of yeasts and bacteria during my career. The one thing that each of them had in common was a preference for glucose (just simple sugar) as a food source.

- I have done experiments where the simple sugar was not given and they were fed with a more complex sugar instead. Most would still grow but they did not grow as quickly because they had to break down the sugar before using it. An example of more complex sugars are mannose, lactose and an even more complex sugar is starch (sorry pasta lovers).

- With complex sugars the microbes have to process it before they can use it. Glucose, the simplest sugar does not need to be processed. The microbes just say "Thank You".

- An easy way to tell how much sugar is in a product is to check the label. Anything that has an "ose" on the end of it is a sugar. For example, glucose, lactose, mannose, fructose, etc. Starch is also a very complex sugar but this trick doesnt work for starch. :)

A second example of microbial overgrowth occurs iin persons with uncontrolled diabetes. People who cannot control their blood sugar (blood sugar too high) have increased incidence of microbial overgrowth. This can be seen as yeast or bacterial infections of the skin, the mouth (yeast = thrush), the reproductive tract (yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis), fungal infection of the skin (jock itch, athletes foot, etc.), and even the GI tract (I have seen very poorly controlled diabetics have extreme cases of perianal yeast infection).

So, in sum, if you eat too much sugar (especially simple sugars) it can cause microbial overgrowth in the gut (and the vagina and skin too!).

:)
 
My son has crohn's and is fructose malabsorbent. We think its helped by taking it out of his diet. he still eats sugar, and plenty of it i might add! (hes 12). The drs explained it to us as, crohn's is Parana's and since his body doesnt digest fructose alone, it acts as more paranas. so when he eats something with fructose it makes his symptoms worse. He has a three page list of things he can and cant have that pertain to fructose. They said as long as the fructose molecule attaches to a glucose molecule, he will digest it. if not he will just get sick.
Soda pop and ketchup are the worst offenders. when we found them with out high fructose corn syrup he felt a million times better after eating it, cuz, ya know, a boy without his ketchup is like the devil on crack! I'm glad to see more foods with out it. Try reading the labels and taking the high fructose stuff out of your diet, see if it helps. It did Coltyn. And I feel better too!
Good luck!
 
Hi, I am very interested in your reply and you sound very knowledgeabe. My son was pursuing a graduate degree in science and is very concerned about the scientific basis for things that he considers trying. Any research you can point to that I could pass on to him. You have position of Crohn's Forum Science Advisor, can you tell me more about that, please. Thank you.
 
Dear Coltyn's family. Wonder how you found out that he was Fructose Intolerant? My son's doctors say no evidence that that will make any difference.
 
Dr's did a carbohydrate breath test. His drs seem to think it makes a difference. I've noticed a difference. Idk? They said the majority of the crohn's patients they see have either malabsorbtion or intolerance. So they tell them not to eat fructose and they all have noticed a difference.
 

Judith

Crohnsforum Science Advisor
Hi, I am very interested in your reply and you sound very knowledgeabe. My son was pursuing a graduate degree in science and is very concerned about the scientific basis for things that he considers trying. Any research you can point to that I could pass on to him. You have position of Crohn's Forum Science Advisor, can you tell me more about that, please. Thank you.
Of course. :) Is there anything specific he is interested in trying right now? And how much detail is he wanting?

Also, if you dont mind me asking, what degree is he pursuing in grad school? What degree is he going for? What does he want to do with it after he graduates?
Thanks and sorry for so many questions. :)
 
Hello,
I saw an acupuncturist about 4 years ago and during treatment he had me cut out all refined sugar (maaan I didn’t realize that it is in EVERYTHING). I went 14 months straight with absolutely no refined sugar (baked with madjool dates, honey…natural stuff) I have to say during that time I did not experience one symptom and my energy was fantastic ( i felt normal for once!) I didn’t finally break one day and have some and I felt the effects for about a week.
It has been 3 years since then and I do occasionally have some sugar but very very little and I notice a difference with my symptoms when I go a little over board on the sugar.
 

DustyKat

Super Moderator
I don't know if it makes a difference or not to disease activity and outcomes as I have over time read conflicting reports, not that there are huge amounts out there. Those for the positive aren't glaringly so.

Now to Sarah...she is solidly in remission following an ileocaecal resection 6 years ago. She was left with deficits as a result of that surgery, the obvious being chronic diarrhoea due to bile salt malabsorption. Over time she has continued to modify her diet to what she has found suits her best. The first variation was going to vegetarian and I think that part of that would have been due to her difficulty with digesting red meat following the surgery. Some time later she decided to go to vegan, and organic where possible, and said she felt well on it. The next move was made at the beginning of this year and that was to cut out any food that had more than 1 gram of sugar per serving. In her case she said this was the move that made the most difference to her, she felt far more energised and was shocked at the difference it did make. I personally believe that for her...her surgery, removal of the ileocaecal valve and the issues that can result from bacterial overgrowth...reduction of sugar in the diet probably can produce positive results.

Dusty. xxx
 

Judith

Crohnsforum Science Advisor
It is so difficult to cut sugar out of our diet. As Daniellag said, it is in everything. I was shocked to find how many products have added sugar in them. I love how they are now putting "Evaporated Cane Juice" on the labels instead of "Sugar"..... seriously.
 
The concept of 'removing sugar from the diet' is highly misleading.
All carbohydrates are made from sugar molecules (more specifically, glucose molecules.) Glucose is the energy source needed by humans. When the body digests carbohydrates (sugars) the aim is to break them down to glucose. Glucose is essential to human function.
Sucrose (commonly called 'table sugar') is a molecule which contains both glucose and fructose (another type of sugar.)
Sugar molecules also make up starches and fibers. Different sugar molecules have different names, and each are digested in a different way.

The more important issues with sugars are:
-whether they are fully digested, and
-how much is needed for the individual.
Both of these issues vary for each individual depending upon their digestive capability, physical activity level, and metabolism.
Choosing carbohydrates that are appropriate for you is the more important concept, rather than trying to eliminate them from the diet.
 
I see everyone is being very scientific but on a more basic level when I eat sweets and biscuits I feel worse than healthy days. I've always been a sugarholic worse when pregnant and deep down I believe this contributed to my IBD.
 

Judith

Crohnsforum Science Advisor
Hello,
I saw an acupuncturist about 4 years ago and during treatment he had me cut out all refined sugar (maaan I didn’t realize that it is in EVERYTHING). I went 14 months straight with absolutely no refined sugar (baked with madjool dates, honey…natural stuff) I have to say during that time I did not experience one symptom and my energy was fantastic ( i felt normal for once!) I didn’t finally break one day and have some and I felt the effects for about a week.
It has been 3 years since then and I do occasionally have some sugar but very very little and I notice a difference with my symptoms when I go a little over board on the sugar.
When I was taken off sugar (after I had my little meltdown), I started baking with dates too. :) It takes a bit of getting used to but using dates instead of white refined sugar for baking is excellent! I feel like it makes the foods taste even more rich.

I would also use applesauce (unsweetened, organic of course) which worked out very well for cakes and dessert type items.

Cutting out a huge chunk (or chunks) out of your diet sure makes you have to be creative!

Last night I made "Sad Pizza". My husband is Italian (and was raised on his mother's wonderful italian meals: pizza, pasta, lasagna, more pasta and pizza..... etc. He just found out 2 weeks ago that he has to cut out the carbohydrates (sugars). He took it very well actually but we had to get creative without him missing out on too many of his favorites.

So- "Sad Pizza" was born. I figured out which grains (or grain-like items) had the lowest carbohydrates so my husband could eat it.

I cannot have any gluten, cheese, yeast or Soy (not supposed to do tomatoes but we had a little cheat there).

Sad Pizza- The crust was made from Almond Meal, Flax Meal, Tapioca Starch, and a bit of Millet Flour + Water + Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Baking Powder (to substitute for the yeast) + little bit of salt + Guar Gum for binding = 2 Eggs.

I thought it would be awful because the Flax Meal, while lower in carbs than most other "flours" has a very heavy oily taste to it. I thought this thing was going in the trash like many of my other "experiments in cooking".

- I put it on a greased pizza pan and added the pizza sauce. I added fresh tomatoes basil and garlic to my side (no cheese) and I added Fat Free Mozerella and Cheddar cheese to my husband's side along with some soy crumbles (looks like ground beef). I cooked it at 425F for about 24 minutes.

- This "sad pizza" was excellent! For some reason, the flax meal did not taste oily at all after it was cooked. My husband ate all of his pizza (but barely picked at his salad). Baby steps..... Baby steps. :)

I think I will try to make him some cake next. May I steal your date idea daniellag ? :)
 
Location
UK
very interesting thread.

Can't really add any further scientific comments to the debate, but I know from experience if I eat anything too sugary I will definately get a reaction. For example, I can eat chocolate biscuits with a fine covering of chocolate, no problem, but biscuits with a high choco content don't go down well. Also notice the same with icing from cakes.
 

DustyKat

Super Moderator
Hi Judith, This is Topperdoy. Not sure how to PM you. Please advise.
topperdoy...

Go to Judith's post above and click on her name to the left of the screen. A box will drop down and the second option is...send a private message to Judith.

Dusty. :)
 
Top