5 Popular Fall Foods to Avoid If You Have IBD

Smart diet tips for Crohn's or ulcerative colitis

5 Popular Fall Foods to Avoid If You Have IBD

As the days become colder, you may start craving comforting fall foods: pumpkin pie, mac ‘n’ cheese. But if you suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC), you need to avoid foods that can make symptoms worse.

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Here, find advice about five fall foods to watch out for, according to dietitian Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD

Autumn and changing foods

Crohn’s and UC, two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cause chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract where your body digests and absorbs nutrients. This inflammation sometimes leads to abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and fatigue. It also sometimes causes nutrient deficiencies due to poor absorption, such as anemia.

Diet alone cannot prevent IBD, but it can play a major role in controlling your symptoms, Ms. Taylor says.

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You may still enjoy a normal, healthy diet during periods of remission, between flare-ups, when you have few or no symptoms.

“However, during times of inflammation, most people with IBD benefit from adjusting their diet,” says Ms. Taylor. “And, some people with IBD always need to follow a modified diet due to chronic inflammation and intestinal strictures.”

While there is not one specific diet that is right for everyone with IBD, you should adjust your individual diet by considering what symptoms you have and how severe they are.

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Ms. Taylor recommends staying away from these common fall foods during flare-ups:

  1. Apple cider. High in sugar, cider and juices can make diarrhea worse. Sugar is also inflammatory.
  2. Winter squash. Squash types such as butternut, acorn and pumpkin can make your diarrhea worse. They contain mostly insoluble fiber, and very little soluble fiber.
  3. Halloween candy. High in fat and sugar, Halloween candy is a double whammy since poor absorption can lead to abdominal pain and diarrhea.
  4. Pumpkin ice cream. High in fat and lactose, this fall treat can trigger worsened symptoms during an IBD flare-up.
  5. Chili. High in fat, full of insoluble fiber from beans and vegetables and usually spicy, chili will likely worsen abdominal pain, bloating and cramping during flare-ups.

Ms. Taylor says to keep in mind that every person is different, and what works for one person with IBD may not work for another. She recommends keeping a food journal to help you understand your own symptoms.

“The only way to identify which foods worsen or trigger your GI symptoms is to put in the time and effort of tracking,” she says.

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