A recent randomized study (L Albenberg et al. Gastroenterol 2019; 157: 128-36) examined whether a diet low in red or processed meats could reduce rates of Crohn’s disease (CD) flares.
Methods: Adults with CD were recruited into the FACES (Food and Crohn’s Disease Exacerbation Study) trial from 2013 to 2015. Participants were recruited from an internet-based cohort (n=15,600). Eligible participants (consumed red meat at least once a week & in remission) were randomly assigned to high meat, n=118 (minimum of 2 servings per week) or low meat, n=96 (no more than 1 serving per month). Outcomes were based on changes in sCDAI scores or need for treatment (new medication or surgery)
- Any relapse occurred in 62% of participants in the high meat group compared to 42% in the low meat group. This was not statistically significant.
- At week 20, 18 participants in each arm had a stool calprotectin with the high meat group having a higher median: 74.5 mcg/g compared to 36.0 mcg/g (P=.13)
- The high meat group did consume at least 2 servings per week in 98.5% of observed weeks compared to 18.8% of the low meat group.
- Small number of diet participants
- Study was not blinded and only a subset included more objective markers of response
- Whether complete avoidance of red meat/processed meats would be more effective is unclear
- In those in remission at baseline, it could take longer for the benefits of a dietary intervention to become evident
My take: Limiting consumption of red and processed meats (particularly if meat is not lean) has been shown to have cardiovascular benefits. While this study does not show a statistically-significant improvement in relapse rates in this cohort with Crohn’s disease, there are still strong arguments that a diet with increased fruits/vegetables and less red/processed meats would be beneficial.
Related Blog Posts:
- The Search for a Dietary Culprit in IBD
- Top Lecture: Enteral Nutrition (for CD)
- Practical Advice on Enteral Nutrition
- Is Red Meat More Likely to Cause High Cholesterol Than White Meat?
- For Increased Longevity: More Greens are Good
- Diet, Meat, and Colorectal Cancer
Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist. This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona