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Mutat Res. 2010 Aug 7;690(1-2):123-38. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2010.01.020. Epub 2010 Feb 6.

Dietary factors in chronic inflammation: food tolerances and intolerances of a New Zealand Caucasian Crohn's disease population.

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Statistics Department, The University of Auckland, New Zealand; Nutrigenomics New Zealand, New Zealand.


Diet is known to play a major role in the symptoms of the inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease (CD). Although no single diet is appropriate to all individuals, most CD patients are aware of foods that provide adverse or beneficial effects. This study seeks to categorise foods in relation to their effects on symptoms of CD, in a New Zealand Caucasian population. Four hundred and forty-six subjects from two different centres in New Zealand were recruited into the study. An extensive dietary questionnaire (257 food items in 15 groups) recorded self-reported dietary tolerances and intolerances. Across each of the food groups, there were statistically significant differences among responses to foods. A two-dimensional graphical summary enabled stratification of foods according to the probability that they will be either beneficial or detrimental. A small number of foods are frequently considered to be beneficial, including white fish, salmon and tuna, gluten-free products, oatmeal, bananas, boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes (kumara), pumpkin, soya milk, goat's milk and yoghurt. Foods that are typically considered detrimental include grapefruit, chilli or chilli sauce, corn and corn products, peanuts, cream, salami, curried foods, cola drinks, high energy drinks, beer, and red wine. For a number of the food items, the same item that was beneficial for one group of subjects was detrimental to others; in particular soya milk, goat's milk, yoghurt, oatmeal, kiwifruit, prunes, apple, broccoli, cauliflower, linseed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, ginger and ginger products, beef, lamb, liver, and oily fish. It was not possible to identify a specific group of food items that should be avoided by all CD patients. The wide range of detrimental items suggests that dietary maintenance of remission is likely to be difficult, and to exclude a substantial number of foods. Personalised diets may be especially important to these individuals.

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