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Colitis Diet - Ulcerative Colitis Diet
Crohn's Disease Diet - Inflammatory Bowel Diet



Parts of the world that consume a lot of meat and dairy have much more frequent occurrences of inflammatory bowel disease such as colitis, Crohn’s Disease, inflammatory bowel disease and colitis.  In contrast, these diseases are rare in areas of the world that still eat a starched based diet with little or no meat or dairy.  It has been shown that these bowel conditions are mostly brought about by severe allergic reactions to the proteins in meat and dairy products.         

The best treatment for these diseases is to make sure that the contents of the bowel move through frequently.  This brings long lasting and marked improvement.  Simply having more fiber in the diet has been demonstrated to lower the number of attacks and to relieve symptoms for many sufferers.  A diet that is based on starch, which is by definition high in fiber, is very effective at removing the pain and symptomatic distress from diseases of bowel inflammation.

The next step toward a cure is to stay away from the foods that are most likely to bring about an allergic reaction.  These foods are dairy products, meat, wheat, all types of fat, eggs and chocolate.  If relief is still not forthcoming, one must take the final move toward a positive diagnosis by using the elimination diet.  This process begins by eliminating large arrays of common foods which are then put back in the diet one by one to find the food or foods that are causing the allergic reaction.

A significant clinical study was implemented with Crohn’s disease sufferers who had been plagued with extreme diarrhea for numerous years, with 20 or more bowel movements daily.  The patients were taken off their high fat diet and put on a low fat diet.  This provided relief from the frequent liquid stools after two or three days.  The majority of patients continued to have solid stools for as long as they refrained from animal and vegetable fats.

If a person has a healthy functioning small intestine, it will re-absorb the liver bile in the ileum which is the end part of the small intestine.  Patients who suffer with Crohn’s disease are found to have this portion of the ileum damaged and incapable of absorbing bile.  Because of this damage, the liver bile then continues to migrate through the ileum and on to the colon.  Here, the bile irritates the colon which, in turn, causes the colon to discharge water and mucus.  For these patients, a dietary change to low fat foods caused a decrease in the amount of bile secreted and thus a decrease in the irritation of the colon.  Plus, the plant fibers in a starch based diet absorb and thus neutralize most of the bile and also absorb the excess water discharged in the stool.

The positive effects of this diet for patients with ulcerative colitis are just as dramatic.  Approaching any form of colitis with diet has been extremely successful.  A large group of patients with ulcerative colitis saw a reversal of symptoms and most were actually cured of this life threatening disease simply by avoiding milk and milk products.  Other researchers have tackled ulcerative colitis from the broader perspective of removing common food allergens and they have demonstrated stunning success with their patients without the side effects of drugs.

It should also be noted that a high cholesterol, high fat and low fiber Standard American Diet (SAD) elevates the risk of colon cancer.  Thus persons with inflammatory bowel disease are more disposed to colon cancer than the average American who is fortunate enough to have a normal intestinal tract.

For a patient with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease who has endured diarrhea and pain every single day, the prospect of selecting a simple diet plan is not difficult to make.  This is especially true when the penalty for the occasional dietary mistake manifests its cruel retribution immediately.

Persons who are quite ill will most likely need to be put on very simple diets which may require some drug supplementation until the colon settles down.  When the patient can consume normal foods with no discomfort, he or she should begin a starch based diet and eliminate wheat and citrus fruits in the beginning.  Later on these two foods can be tried on an experimental basis.  The elimination diet is the next route to try in stubborn cases. Even then, one should still adhere to eating starch based foods and vegetables while avoiding dairy, meat and oil.

Most of the information in this article was derived from an article written by Dr. John McDougall MD.



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Segal, I. The rarity of ulcerative colitis in South African Blacks. Am J Gastroenterology 74:332, 1980

Heaton, K. Treatment of Crohn's disease with an unrefined-carbohydrate, fibre-rich diet. Br Med J 2:764, 1979

Acheson, E. Early weaning in the aetiology of ulcerative colitis. Br Med J 2:929 1961

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Andersson, H. Fat-reduced diet in the symptomatic treatment of small bowel disease. Metabolic studies in patients with Crohn's disease and in other patients subjected to ileal resection. Gut 15:351, 1974

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