diet and nutrition

Diet = the food you eat
Nutrition = science of how food and body affect each other

IBD is due to interaction between genes, environment and immune system. Westernised culture and developed nations associated with increase in IBD. If nutrition is poor treatments are less likely to work and nutrition is something children and families can do.

There is no one diet that will help all young patients, but a well-balanced diet containing essential nutrients should be encouraged. Poor diet coupled with inflammation in the bowel can lead to rapid weight loss in a child with Crohn's or colitis.

While they are unwell, children may feel as if they have just eaten a big meal, so they might only want to (or be able to) eat small amounts of food. If a certain food appears to make a child’s symptoms worse, then it should be taken out of the diet. However, it is not a good idea to make drastic changes to a diet without the supervision of a doctor or dietitian, as avoiding too many foods will lead to further malnutrition.

Chemists sell several drinks that contain all the nutrients that children need. These milkshake-style drinks may help when there is a loss of appetite, but advice should be sought from a doctor, IBD nurse or dietician.