Dietary fiber may reduce Crohn’s disease flares

February 1, 2016

A study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology shows that dietary fiber consumption may reduce flares in patients with Crohn’s disease. Using the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Partners Internet cohort, the researchers examined the association of dietary fiber intake with flares in patients with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.

For the study, 1,619 patients were identified—1,130 with Crohn’s disease (CD) and 489 with ulcerative colitis (UC)/indeterminate colitis. Completed dietary surveys were collected from the patients at baseline and at six-month follow-up. Consumption of fiber and whole grains was classified into quartiles and deciles. At the 6-month follow-up period, the researchers considered a disease flare to be a disease activity index score above remission cut-off values.

The researchers found that the risk for disease flare differed by type of disease. Patients with CD were about 40% less likely to have a disease flare when they did not avoid high fiber foods compared to those who reported that they did avoid high fiber foods. Patients with CD in the highest quartile of fiber intake were significantly less likely to have a flare. For patients with UC, researchers found no link between dietary fiber intake and disease.

“The results of this study support findings reported in investigations occurring in the 1980s—low fiber eating does not result in improved outcomes for individuals with CD compared to individuals with CD not restricting fiber intake,” the researchers wrote. They concluded that the “recommendations to limit dietary fiber should be re-evaluated.”