Avoid these foods if you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Sugar can affect the colon directly.

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should stay away from sugary foods like soda and candy. High-sugar diets can worsen IBD symptoms.

High-sugar diets have been linked to an increased risk of several serious medical conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Hence it advised to limit consumption of sugary foods, especially added sugar. It is more important for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to cut down on sugar intake, because too much sugar may harm your gut health.

A new study by University of Pittsburgh scientists has suggested that high-sugar diets can worsen IBD symptoms.

Senior author Timothy Hand, associate professor of pediatrics and immunology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, cautioned patients with IBD to stay away from high-density sugar, which can be found things like soda and candy.

High-sugar diets andIBD

In the study, mice with IBD symptoms were fed either a standard or high-sugar diet. The researchers were taken aback when they found that all the mice on the high-sugar diet died within nine days while all the animals on the standard diet lived until the end of the 14-day experiment.

What made sugar so deadly in mice with IBD symptoms? According to the researchers, excess sugar can hamper the protective layer of epithelial cells lining the colon or the large intestine. In mice on the high-sugar diet, the colon epithelium completely collapsed, causing the colon to be full of blood and immune cells. Further, they found that sugar affects the colon directly. The findings were published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Earlier research had linked sweetened beverages (sodas, soft drinks and juices) to negative outcomes in IBD patients. University of Pittsburgh scientists stated that their findings could help explain this connection as well.

Facts about IBD you ought know

IBD refers to a group of disorders that cause swelling or inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, due to an overactive immune system. For example, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

IBD cases are rising worldwide, mostly in industrialized nations and urban areas, where people typically eat diets high in sugar.

Factors that can contribute to the development of this disease include diet, certain medications and genetic variables.

Too much consumption of ultra-processed food may increase your risk of getting inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A study published in The BMJ in 2021 revealed that people who consume five or more servings of ultra-processed food per day have more than 80 per cent higher risk of developing IBD compared to those who eat less than one serving of ultra-processed food per day.

People with inflammatory bowel disease are also advised to avoid packaged foods as the preservatives and additives can trigger inflammation in the digestive tract. Vegetables like beans, cabbage and cauliflower can cause gas and bloating, and hence they are better avoided if you have IBD.

IBD symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, bloating, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, blood in stool, and upset stomach. In some cases, it can cause fever, itchy, red, painful eyes, joint pain, nausea and vomiting, skin rashes and sores (ulcers), and vision problems.

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