New (and old) diets to treat CD - a new Concept
In Crohn’s Disease (CD), growth retardation and weight loss are common problems that arise. It is also possible for children to have growth failure years preceding gastrointestinal symptoms. Many patients will, in addition to poor growth, suffer nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin, mineral and possibly micro- and macro-nutrient deficiencies.
When considering a diet for a patient, certain questions must be answered such as their nutritional status, are they getting adequate caloric intake? Sufficient micro- and macro-nutrients? Furthermore, the aim of the diet must be determined. Will it help with prevention or treatment?
Many special diets for IBD patients exist but not all are recommended due to the lack of data on efficiency such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which severely restricts carbohydrate intake or the Crohn’s Disease Exclusion Diet which excludes gluten, dairy, animal fat, processed meats, emulsifiers and canned goods.
In the future, a more personal approach may be envisioned, such as being able to locate the disease, understanding its severity, behavior and mechanism of action allowing to define which patients could be treated with which diet.
Diets are unquestionably helpful but they do have their limitations. Sometimes they only help with symptom management and not the underlying cause, it has many restrictions and can put the patient at risk of malnutrition and deficiencies. In summary if considering going on a special diet for CD a well-balanced diet should be worked out, cutting out processed foods as well as being followed by a qualified dietitian.