Guidelines for dietary recommendations and nutritional therapy for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are lacking, and patients are moving toward popular defined diets for relief of symptoms and inflammation. However, many proposed diets involve elimination of specific foods or food groups and may exacerbate or inadequately replete micronutrient deficiencies that are prevalent in patients with IBD at baseline. Further, limited data are available to guide clinicians on the use of dietary protocols for IBD. This article reviews dietary risk factors for IBD and common beliefs about diet among patients with IBD, and how these aspects may inform general dietary recommendations for this patient population. Additionally, this article reviews dietary interventions used in the management of active IBD, with a focus on whole food diet-based therapies rather than enteral or parenteral nutrition, as well as their nutritional adequacy. This article also highlights various dietary concepts and approaches among patients with IBD, along with the potential for nutritional inadequacy of popular defined diets for IBD. Partnerships with registered dietitians are needed to guide patients with IBD in nutrition and dietary intervention. Larger randomized studies are needed to support evidence-based dietary recommendations for IBD.
Keywords: Crohn’s disease; Ulcerative colitis; diet, nutrition; inflammatory bowel disease.