Not bother with a nutritionist?!
Now, I realize I may be slightly biased as someone who has already devoted four years and countless hours to the study of nutrition science and food, but don’t bother with a nutritionist?
Fortunately for those with a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, research is underway to help support dietary changes that not only affect disease activity but also quality of life.
In a recent study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, researchers evaluated the effect of comprehensive dietary guidelines on the clinical course of ulcerative colitis (UC) and quality of life over a 6-month period. The guidelines were designed for use during an ulcerative colitis flare and included the advice to use probiotics and to follow a low fat, low FODMAP, low fiber, high protein diet. (FODMAPs are carbohydrates that can be malabsorbed in the small intestine). Individuals with UC were randomly assigned to follow these guidelines or to follow a generally healthy diet using the UK’s equivalent of MyPlate (the control group).
After 6 months, there was significant improvement in disease-related symptoms, including daytime and nocturnal bowel frequency, urgency, amount of blood in the stool, well-being, and extraintestinal manifestations, in the group following the special dietary guidelines but no improvement in the control group.
During my time at the clinic, I saw firsthand how nutrition counseling to make small, often temporary, dietary changes could alleviate symptoms of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and irritable bowel syndrome. Larger scale studies will be able to shed further light on these findings and offer much needed relief to the many patients who are suffering from IBD.
In the meantime, please do bother with a nutritionist who specializes in gastrointestinal health.
Ref: Kyaw MH, Moshkovska T, Mayberry J. A prospective, randomized, controlled, exploratory study of comprehensive dietary advice in ulcerative colitis: impact on disease activity and quality of life. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;26(8):910-917.