Med diet beneficial for bowel disease patients, study suggests
Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who followed the Mediterranean diet for six months saw a significant improvement in their condition.
Patients who had adhered to the Mediterranean diet benefited from a decrease in their body mass index (BMI) and saw their waistlines shrink. Lower inflammatory markers and less disease activity were also noted.
“Our data support the role of nutritional counseling in the multidisciplinary management of IBD,” Fabio Chicco, the study’s lead author, told Reuters. “The adoption of a proper alimentary habit based on (a Mediterranean diet) and the achievement of compliance might be pivotal in the clinical management of these patients.”
To assess the impact of the Mediterranean diet on IBD conditions, Chicco’s research team devised pre-study questionnaires to evaluate participants’ quality of life. Patients were assessed for clinical and disease activity and were tested for possible steatosis (fatty liver disease) using an abdominal ultrasound.
Participants were given dietary advice by a nutritionist and were advised to consume olive oil at every meal as part of the MedDiet.
The study, which was undertaken by researchers from the University of Cagliari, observed 142 patients with IBD. Participants were made up of 84 ulcerative colitis patients and 58 sufferers of Crohn’s disease.
Olive oil consumption has been associated with the prevention of ulcerative colitis since a 2010 study by researchers from the University of East Anglia concluded that a diet rich in oleic acid (a component of olive oil) significantly reduced the risk of developing the disease.
At the start of the study 43 ulcerative colitis patients and 30 Crohn’s disease patients were deemed obese.
After adhering to the MedDiet for six months the BMI of ulcerative colitis patients had decreased by an average of 0.42 points and their waist circumference had decreased by around 1.25 centimeters (0.50 inches). Similar results were noted in the Crohn’s disease patients, whose BMI decreased by around 0.48 points and waist circumference by 1.4 centimeters (0.55 inches).
During the study, the number of patients with the active disease (experiencing symptoms) also declined, falling from 23.7 percent to 6.8 percent in ulcerative colitis patients and from 17 percent to 3.8 percent in Crohn’s disease patients.
It was also noted that the MedDiet led to a significant reduction of liver steatosis (fatty liver disease), which completely disappeared in some patients.
“I’m a big fan of the Mediterranean diet, so I’m excited to see a study that looks at it,” Aline Charabaty, director of the IBD Center at the Johns Hopkins-Sibley Memorial Hospital, told Reuters.
Charabaty claimed that previous dietary studies which focused on the effects of individual foods on IBD were a mistake due to the complex nature of IBD.
“This study is very nicely done, and it mirrors what is known from epidemiological studies. I’m glad to see it backs up my recommendations to patients,” she said.
Read Med diet beneficial for bowel disease patients, study suggests by Julie Ab-Zoubi