Background: Recent studies suggest that dietary therapy may be effective for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but limited published data exist on the usage and efficacy of dietary therapy.
Aim: To evaluate the perspective of IBD patients using the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD).
Methods: An anonymous online survey was conducted using REDCap, a Web-based survey tool. Survey links were sent to known Web sites as well as support groups in an attempt to characterize patient utilization of the SCD and perception of efficacy of the SCD.
Results: There were 417 respondents of the online survey on the SCD with IBD. Mean age for individuals on the SCD was 34.9 ± 16.4 years. Seventy percent were female. Forty-seven percent had Crohn's disease, 43 % had ulcerative colitis, and 10 % had indeterminate colitis. Individuals perceived clinical improvement on the SCD. Four percent reported clinical remission prior to the SCD, while 33 % reported remission at 2 months after initiation of the SCD, and 42 % at both 6 and 12 months. For those reporting clinical remission, 13 % reported time to achieve remission of less than 2 weeks, 17 % reported 2 weeks to a month, 36 % reported 1-3 months, and 34 % reported greater than 3 months. For individuals who reported reaching remission, 47 % of individuals reported associated improvement in abnormal laboratory values.
Conclusions: The SCD is utilized by many patients as a primary and adjunct therapy for IBD. Most patients perceive clinical benefit to use of the SCD.
Keywords: Crohn’s disease; Diet; Inflammatory bowel disease; Nutrition; Specific carbohydrate diet; Ulcerative colitis.