James Lewis, MD: Diet as Treatment in Patients with Crohn's Disease

Both the Mediterranean Diet and the Specific Carbohydrate diet achieved nearly 50% symptomatic remission in patients with IBD.

In treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diet may play an increasingly important role as a therapy.

A new study "Diet to Induce Remission in Crohn's Disease," or DINE-CD, compared the Specific Carbohydrate DIet and the Mediterranean Diet in terms of efficacy and safety in patients.

As it turned out, both diets met symptomatic remission in nearly half of patients, in 43.5% of patients following a Mediterranean style diet and 46.5% of patients following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

In this episode of the DocTalk podcast, lead investigator of the DINE-CD, James Lewis, MD, Chief of Gastroenterology at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, discussed the reasons behind the diets chosen and what they might ultimately mean for care for patients with IBD.

He noted that the Mediterranean Diet was associated with lower risk of Crohn's Disease in studies that look at pre-illness diet, as well as improved symptoms and quality of life in IBD patients.

"It has also been associated with many other health benefits, particularly in reduction in cardiovascular disease and some malignancies," Lewis said. "Those could be viewed as an added benefit to the Mediterranean Diet, because even if it didn't help their Crohn's Disease, many people would get health benefits following it."

He also touched on how he describes the treatment to patients, as an adjunct to traditional IBD therapies that may have benefits for symptoms of Crohn's Disease.

"In a small amount of people, it may be able to suffice as a sole therapy for your Crohn's Disease, but you need to go into it eyes open, willing to change course if it is not meeting the goals of therapy," Lewis said.