Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis are both auto-immune inflammatory diseases with unknown cause.

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gut from mouth to anus, whereas Ulcerative colitis is confined to the large intestine. Nutritional deficiencies are common and varying levels of dietary restriction may be required over time depending on the severity of your disease. This can include an elemental diet, low sulphite diet, low FODMAP diet (for those with functional symptoms), exclusion diets or a low residue diet. Each of these diet therapies may be required at different stages of disease, but rarely long term which is why it is important to maintain regular contact with your dietitian and gastroenterologist.

Dietary considerations

Nutrient deficiencies

There are several vitamins and minerals that can be frequently depleted in IBD. Dietary intake is assessed and optimised for each "at risk" nutrient.

Low residue diet

During periods of disease activity, your gastroenterologist or surgeon may encourage adherence to a low residue (low fibre) diet. This is not a long term diet, but unfortunately we see many people who have been instructed to do this without adequate reintroduction guidelines. Our dietitians can help you determine whether you still require a low residue diet and how you can start gradually reintroducing foods safely into your diet.

Low sulphur diet

Excessive protein intake increases production of hydrogen sulphide in the gut which has implication for Ulcerative Colitis. Our dietitians can help you determine whether a reduction in protein intake is required.

High resistant starch diet

Resistant starch and slowly fermented fibres are thought to provide nutrients to the intestinal lining and are therefore important in Ulcerative Colitis. Our dietitians can advise how you can increase your intake of these to optimise gut health.

Liquid only diet

Exclusive or partial enteral nutrition is the only form of dietary treatment scientifically proven to reduce inflammation that causes IBD, particularly in Crohn's disease. Our dietitians can discuss this as an option for you and guide you through the process if you and your gastroenterologist are keen to undertake this treatment.

Low FODMAP diet

A low FODMAP diet is the most effective dietary therapy for irritable bowel syndrome, but it has also been shown to have efficacy in people with IBD who have concurrent functional symptoms, much like those seen in IBS. A low FODMAP diet is not for life. Our dietitians will show you how to follow a low FODMAP diet and then individualise it and make long term modifications to optimise gut health.

Diet for strictures

If you have strictures or adhesions, a modified fibre diet may be necessary to reduce the changes of blockages. Whether you need to limit certain fibres and for how long will be determined by your dietitian and treating gastroenterologist.

How we can help

Our dietitians can help you from the time of diagnosis of IBD and beyond. Initially, dietary assessment for nutritional adequacy is important as nutrient deficiencies are common. Requirements change over stages of IBD, with different dietary restrictions necessary depending on your symptoms and disease activity. The role of sulphur, elemental diets and emulsifiers are currently being investigated. Our team can advise you on the latest evidence and whether you may benefit from dietary change.

Our team of experienced dietitians use the latest scientifically proven strategies

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Meet the team

We are known for our expertise in gastro-intestinal (gut / bowel) nutrition, however, every member of our team has their own additional, specialty areas.

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Dr Jaci Barrett

Dietitian
Dietitian

co-director of Diet Solutions

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Erin Dwyer

Dietitian
Dietitian

Specialises in a vast array of nutritional concerns

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Dr CK Yao

Dietitian
Dietitian

Specialises in complex gastrointestinal nutrition

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