Dietary intake and nutritional status in patients with newly diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease: insights from the IBSEN III study

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2024 Feb 15:1-9. doi: 10.1080/00365521.2024.2313056. Online ahead of print.


Background: Dietary recommendations in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are inconclusive, and patients may follow restrictive diets with increased risk of malnutrition. The aim of this study was to compare dietary intakes and nutritional status in men and women with newly diagnosed IBD with a general population sample, and to investigate whether intakes were in line with the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study including adults≥ 40 years with IBD from the Inflammatory Bowel Disease in South-Eastern Norway (IBSEN) III cohort study. A validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used in dietary data collection, and a sample from the seventh survey of the Tromsø Study was included as a comparison group.

Results: A total of 227 men and women with IBD were included. IBD patients had higher intake of grain products, sweetened beverages, energy, fat and polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), but lower intake of dairy products, alcohol and iodine compared to adults from the comparison sample (p < 0.01). Intakes of saturated fat and carbohydrates in both genders, and vitamin D in women were not within recommended levels. Anemia and hypoalbuminemia were more prevalent in IBD patients than in the comparison sample.

Conclusions: Dietary intakes in newly diagnosed IBD patients were mostly in line with Nordic Nutrition Recommendations. Higher proportion of IBD patients exceeded recommended allowances of fat and added sugar than the comparison sample. Insufficient micronutrient intake, anemia and hypoalbuminemia are present challenges in IBD patients that require monitoring.

Keywords: Inflammatory bowel disease; cross-sectional study; dietary assessment; food frequency questionnaire; nutritional status.

Plain language summary

Self-prescribed dietary restrictions in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) due to inconclusive dietary guidance may influence their risk of malnutrition. Comprehensive assessment of both dietary intake and nutritional status as early as time of diagnosis may help identify challenges in this patient group and implement appropriate interventions.