Increased frequency of processed meat consumption was associated with an increased risk for mortality in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to research presented at the Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (AIBD) 2021 Annual Meeting, held from December 9 to 11, 2021, in Orlando, Florida and virtually.

Data from 5763 patients with IBD in the United Kingdom (UK) Biobank who were recruited from 2007 to 2010 and followed up to March 13, 2021 were included in this analysis (UK Biobank Resource under application number 73595). A simplified food frequency questionnaire was used to collect baseline dietary information and deaths were ascertained from the death registry. Meat consumption of 0.1 to 0.9 times per week was used as a reference; estimates of the association between consumption and mortality were reported.

The mean age of patients with IBD was 57.3 (SD, 7.9) years, 3028 (52.5%) patients were women, 1834 and 3929 patients received diagnoses of Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), respectively. Follow-up time on average was 11.7 years, during which 590 deaths over 67,095 person-years were documented. 

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Compared with processed meat consumption of less than once per week, there was an increased risk for mortality associated with consuming processed meat more than 4 times per week (hazard ratio [HR], 1.53; 95% CI, 1.06-2.23; P =.025). There were no associations with consumption of fish, unprocessed poultry, or unprocessed red meat. The association between consumption and mortality was also observed among patients with CD (HR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.12-3.62; P =.020) but not UC (HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 0.77-2.09; P =.346).

Subgroup analyses revealed associations with increased mortality in patients with IBD who have disease duration greater than 10 years (HR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.03-2.69) and patients who reported high levels of physical activity (HR, 2.21; 95% CI, 1.13-4.33).

Researchers recommend a modified diet for patients with IBD that limits consumption of processed meat, whether alone or in combination with medication use.


Chen H, Fu T, Dan L, et al. Meat consumption and all-cause mortality in 5763 inflammatory bowel disease patients: a prospective cohort study. Presented at: AIBD 2021 Annual Meeting; December 9-11, 2021; Orlando, FL and virtual. Abstract P003.

This article originally appeared on Gastroenterology Advisor