Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 8, pp 2087–2094 | Cite as

Influence of Diet on the Course of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Laura Tasson
  • Cristina Canova
  • Maria Grazia Vettorato
  • Edoardo Savarino
  • Renzo ZanottiEmail author
Original Article



While the importance of diet in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is generally recognized, influence of food on the course of IBD is little understood.


The purpose of this study was to assess the association between food intake and course of disease in patients with IBD.


We performed a cross-sectional study on 103 adult patients (50 with active disease and 53 in remission, divided by their calprotectin level), who completed a food frequency questionnaire on their intake of several foods over 1 year. Diet, as assessed using a 146-item self-administered food frequency questionnaire, was correlated with objective evidence of disease based on fecal calprotectin levels.


Legumes and potato were inversely associated with disease relapse (p value for trend 0.023) with patients in the highest quartile for legume and potato consumption carrying a 79% lower risk of active disease (adjusted OR 0.21, 95% CI 0.57–0.81). A positive association emerged between meat intake and disease relapse, the highest quartile for meat consumption coinciding with a higher risk of active disease (OR 3.61, 95% CI 1.15–11.38), though this was not significant in the adjusted analysis. No statistically significant associations were found between disease relapse and the intake of vegetables, cereals, dairy products, or fish.


Our results suggest a potentially protective role of legumes and potato and a detrimental influence of meat in maintaining clinical remission in IBD patients. These findings have important public health implications, but further interventional studies will be needed to demonstrate these associations.


Inflammatory bowel diseases Fecal calprotectin Diet Legume Meat 



The authors acknowledge Fabio Canesso who provided his expertise and greatly helped the research and Renata d’Incà who authorized the access to patients and data. The authors would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the staff and participants of the EPIC-Norfolk Study. EPIC-Norfolk is supported by the Medical Research Council program Grants (G0401527, G1000143) and Cancer Research UK program Grant (C864/A8257).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors whose names are listed certify that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryMiranoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Molecular MedicineUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Surgical, Oncological and Gastroenterological SciencesUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly

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