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Crohn's Disease Health Center

Creating a Crohn's Disease Diet Plan

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Which foods should I avoid with a Crohn's disease diet plan?

The foods that trigger symptoms differ for each person with Crohn's disease. To know which foods to leave out of your diet plan, you'll need to determine which foods, if any, trigger yours. Many people with Crohn's disease find that one or more of the foods on the following list aggravate symptoms during disease flares. It's possible that at least some of these listed foods will trigger your symptoms:

  • alcohol (mixed drinks, beer, wine)
  • butter, mayonnaise, margarine, oils
  • carbonated beverages
  • coffee, tea, chocolate
  • corn husks
  • dairy products (if lactose intolerant)
  • fatty foods (fried foods)
  • foods high in fiber
  • gas-producing foods (lentils, beans, legumes, cabbage, broccoli, onions)
  • nuts and seeds (peanut butter, other nut butters)
  • raw fruits
  • raw vegetables
  • red meat and pork
  • spicy foods
  • whole grains and bran

Once you've identified foods that cause your symptoms to flare, you can choose either to avoid them or to learn new ways of preparing them that will make them tolerable. To do that, you'll need to experiment with various foods and methods of preparation to see what works best for you. For instance, if certain raw vegetables trigger a flare, you don't necessarily need to give them up. You may find that steaming them, boiling them, or stewing will allow you to eat them without increased GI symptoms. If red meat increases fat in the stools, you could try eating ground sirloin or ground round to see if you can tolerate a leaner cut of beef. Or you might decide to rely on low-fat poultry without skin and fish as your main sources of protein.

Is a low-residue diet a Crohn's treatment diet?

A low-residue diet is one that's low in specific foods that add residue to the stool. Many individuals with small-bowel Crohn's disease have a narrowing or stricture of the lower small intestine (the ileum). For them, a low-fiber with low-residue diet can help lessen abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea. And while scientific proof is lacking, this diet may also help decrease frequency of bowel movements for some people. Foods to avoid on a low-residue diet may include:

  • corn hulls
  • nuts
  • raw fruits
  • seeds
  • vegetables

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