A prospective study of pre-illness diet in newly diagnosed patients with Crohn's disease

Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2012 Jan-Mar;116(1):40-9.


Background: Environmental factors, including diet, seem to participate in the etiology of inflammatory bowel disease. The kind of dietetic habits before the appearance of the illness in patients with Crohn's disease (CD) has not been studied extensively.

Aim: To prospectively assess the kind of food consumption in patients with CD exactly at the time of diagnosis and to identify dietary constituents as risk factors for development of CD. PATIENTS - METHODS: Twenty eight patients with a newly established diagnosis of CD (2-4 weeks), (12 men and 16 women), 30 patients with previously (between 2 - 11 years) established diagnosis of CD (14 men and 16 women) and 38 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (16 men and 22 women) were included in the study. Dietary intake was assessed by means of special questionnaire.

Results: Comparisons between controls and newly diagnosed patients showed that increased consumption of milk and yogurt (P = 0.042), fruits (P = 0.0001), citrus (P = 0.0001), vegetables (P = 0.0001), carrots (P = 0.0001), legumes (P = 0.036), fish and selfish (P = 0.001), honey (P = 0.003), and nuts (P = 0.038), was associated with decreased risk for CD. On the other hand, significantly increased intake of fat (P = 0.041), olive oil (P = 0.038), margarine (P = 0.038), sugar (P = 0.02), alcohol drinks (P = 0.009), fried food (P = 0.0001), and pasta (P = 0.0001), was noticed on recently diagnosed patients in comparison with the healthy control group. On logistic regression analysis foods remaining statistically significant were: margarine, pasta, fried foods, fat, olives, sugar (increased risk), and yogurt, honey, fruits, nuts, fish, and citrus fruits (decreased risk). Newly diagnosed patients were significantly overweighed (64%) compared to healthy people (26%) and old patients (7%).

Conclusion: Significant differences in many kinds of food between newly diagnosed patients with CD, patients with established CD and normal people certainly exist. Our results suggest that specific dietary patterns could be associated with higher or lower risks for CD in adults. However, whether these dietary factors are important for the development of CD or modulate the effect of other environmental factors is unknown.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis*
  • Crohn Disease / etiology*
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Overweight / complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires