Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are currently considered multifactorial pathologies in which various combined environmental factors act on a genetic background, giving rise to a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Among the various environmental factors, it now seems clear that the diet plays the major role in IBD onset and progression. Several clinical studies have attempted to understand the impact of diet in the development and progression of these diseases in order to establish useful guidelines for their management. However, the modest and sometimes contradictory results did not lead to the definition of shared dietary suggestions. On the other hand, food fads and recommendations based on anecdotal episodes are often followed by IBD patients to improve their diet. This review provides a critical overview of existing data on the role of diet as a risk factor for IBD. The methodology used was that of analyzing the results of clinical studies conducted on diet and IBD over the last 12 years through PubMed, as well as analyzing the most relevant studies on nutrients and their possible roles in IBD through the knowledge of the mechanisms by which they can modulate the microbiota or the intestinal physiology.
Keywords: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD); Mediterranean Diet; Nutritional Approach; Western-style Diet (WSD).