Popular Foods in American Diet Cause Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Adults

Certain foods such as French fries, soda, energy drinks, cookies, chocolates, and cheese are a part of the popular American diet. Despite their limited nutritional value, they are a huge part of everyday routine. However, these foods are associated with inflammatory bowel disease patients, says a new study.

A research team from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University investigated the dietary habits of people diagnosed with inflammatory bowel syndrome. They analyzed the data obtained from the National Health Interview Survey (2015) to estimate the food and drinks common in all these patients in adult patients of inflammatory bowel disease.

The shortlisted 26 different types of food, and surprisingly, all foods that are somewhat considered as “junk food” were directly involved in causing inflammatory bowel disease.

The complete study findings of this study are published in the journal PLOS One.

The inflammatory bowel disease is the internal inflammation of the human gut and every year, nearly three million US adults are diagnosed with it. The disease showcases itself into two forms; Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterizes the most common symptoms of the inflammatory bowel disease are; intense abdominal pain, cramps, inability to eat anything, severe diarrhea,  rectal bleeding or blood in stools, unexplained weight loss and stress.

Among all these foods, French fries were the most popular food among people having inflammatory bowel disease. Cookies and cheese were the second and third most popular dietary foods in these people. Also, they were shown little fruit and fruit juice consumption as compared to other healthy people.

The increased intake of French fries, cheese, and cookies is directly associated with causing inflammatory bowel disease symptoms. In addition to this, milk intake and popcorns were least likely to cause any digestive stress.

Dr. Moon Han is from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences and she is currently working at Health Scientist ORISE Fellow at the CDC. She is also the first author of this study and she says that; “While foods typically labeled as junk food was positively associated with inflammatory bowel disease, we found the eating patterns of people with and without this disease to be very similar.”

She further says that; “However, it’s unclear whether the survey results reflect a potential change in the food intake of people with inflammatory bowel disease long before the survey was conducted.”

She emphasizes that the dietary habits of people who are diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease are necessary. It is the only way to know what has caused their bodies to develop this condition. As the food is directly linked with the digestive tract, understanding what all these people eat is necessary.

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According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), nearly 1.6 million US citizens have Inflammatory bowel disease. In addition to food, other risk factors associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are smoking, ethnicity, age, and family history. People who live in urbanized areas, especially in industrial areas, are at more risk of this problem. Obesity is more common in people living in cities as compared to the countryside.

There is no gender specification in developing inflammatory bowel disease. However, men are more likely to get ulcerative colitis while women are more prone to Crohn’s disease.

There is no way to prevent inflammatory bowel syndrome that is linked with genetics. But the risk of this disease can be reduced by eating healthy, spending time in exercise, and avoiding smoking and alcoholism, in general.




Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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