Dietary interventions for IBD: Cochrane review finds only ambiguity

  • Limketkai BN & al.
  • Cochrane Database Syst Rev
  • 8 Feb 2019

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • The benefits of dietary interventions for IBD remain uncertain, say the authors of this Cochrane review.
  • 5 trials involving almost 500 people are underway, and results should help clarify the evidence.

Why this matters

  • Diet affects disease activity in IBD, but evidence of benefit from specific dietary interventions is sparse.

Key results

  • 18 randomized controlled trials included: 6 for active Crohn’s disease (CD); 7 for inactive CD; 1 for active ulcerative colitis (UC); 4 for inactive UC.
  • Interventions focused on low or no consumption of specific triggering foods or on high fiber.
  • Heterogeneity of interventions and controls precluded data pooling. 
  • Cochrane authors say that most studies lacked sufficient power, 14 had high bias risk.
  • Some studies had tiny populations (e.g., 3 controls).
  • Symptoms-guided diet seemed to have most robust results suggesting benefit.
  • Relapses were common, often similar to control condition.
  • No studies reported side effects.

Study design

  • Cochrane review, 18 studies, 1878 participants.
  • Funding: None, or other.

Limitations

  • The considerable limitations of the included studies.

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