Dietary fiber is associated with fewer flares in patients with Crohn disease but not in those with ulcerative colitis, according to a report published online ahead of print December 31 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 

Lead author Carol S. Brotherton, PhD, and colleagues collected a 26-item dietary survey from 1,619 patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—1,130 patients with Crohn disease and 489 patients with ulcerative colitis—who were in remission at baseline. The researchers conducted a follow-up survey with the participants 6 months later. Patients with ulcerative colitis consumed more fiber than patients with Crohn disease. Female gender, prior hospitalization, and prior surgery were associated with lower fiber intake. Patients with Crohn disease who reported that they ate high-fiber foods were approximately 40% less likely to have a disease flare than those who did not eat high-fiber foods. The researchers found no association between fiber intake and flares in patients with ulcerative colitis. 

The authors suggested that recommendations that patients with IBD limit how much dietary fiber they consume should be re-evaluated.

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