People with Crohn's disease are at risk of malnutrition for a variety of reasons:

  • When symptoms are severe, people don't feel like eating.
  • Diarrhea makes food move faster out of the body, so there's less time for nutrients to be absorbed
  • Removing parts of the intestine to treat Crohn's disease reduces the available areas for nutrients to be absorbed.
  • Medications for Crohn's disease may prevent nutrients from being absorbed.
  • Nutrients may be lost through bleeding associated with Crohn's disease.

Nutritional therapy helps ensure you get the nutrients you need while avoiding foods that make your Crohn's disease worse. Since there is not a single dietary plan that will suit everyone, the diet plan should be tailored for you to meet your needs. Sometimes your physician may suggest a specific diet such as a low-salt diet, low-fibre diet, low-fat diet, lactose-free diet, or high-calorie diet, depending on your symptoms. At other times you can try the following tips to help control your symptoms, especially during flare-ups:

  • Avoiding foods that may aggravate your symptoms, such as fatty foods or fried foods. Eat a healthy, nutritious diet.
  • Eat smaller meals at more frequent intervals.
  • Eliminate dairy products if you are lactose intolerant.
  • Avoid high-fibre foods such as nuts and seeds.

Consult your doctor or a registered dietitian before starting nutritional therapy.