Summary: Vegan diets are one popular intervention for IBD, and for good reason – a well-designed vegan diet may confer beneficial effects on intestinal health via modulation of the microbiome, increased nutrient density, and elimination of food irritants. However, diets completely devoid of animal products are not viable long-term for the vast majority of people, and nutritional deficiencies are a serious risk. All the potential health benefits of a vegan diet can still be leveraged within an omnivorous diet, but for those who are vegan for ethical or sustainability reasons, careful supplementation or strategic inclusion of certain nutrient-dense animal foods (such as bivalves) are potential options for avoiding some of the pitfalls.
This article is part of the IBD Index. Last updated on March 16, 2022.
It is well known that high intakes of meat have been associated with IBD (example source; there are many!). And while yes, these are epidemiological studies and no, correlation does not equal causation, I’d consider it a bit disingenuous to brush off these results as a mere artifact of the “healthy user bias” (as many in the keto, carnivore, and paleo communities are wont to do).
I’ll say right at the outset that, on the basis of anthropological, biological, and other scientific knowledge and data, I don’t believe a strict vegan diet to be viable for the vast majority of humans. That said, many people have anecdotally had astonishing success managing their IBD with a vegan diet, and considering those experiences in light of the epidemiological evidence I mentioned above, I think it would behoove us to pay attention to what this information could teach us about the disease processes involved in IBD, and how to best address them.[Read more…] about Vegan Diets for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease