18 October 2002
A high total fat intake — but saturated fat in particular — and a diet high in sugar have emerged as risk factors associated with the onset of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in an Australian study.
Reported at the Australian Gastroenterology Week conference in Adelaide today, the study of 400 adults found that people who developed IBD in Australia were 3 times as likely to eat a diet high in saturated fat and sugar. Fast foods, sugar, cakes and biscuits were reported more often in the diets of people who developed IBD than the diets of the healthy control group.
Inflammatory bowel disease is the collective term used to describe Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
University of Newcastle research dietitian Alison Bencke analysed the reported diets of 107 people in the 12 months leading up to their diagnosis of IBD and compared it with the diet reported by 308 healthy volunteers demographically matched to the people with the IBD diagnosis. More than 200 individual food items and 20 food groups were included in the analysis.
Addressing the conference Ms Bencke said the results were consistent with other evidence implicating a Western diet in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Rates of these inflammatory bowel diseases have increased in Europe and North America over the past 20 to 30 years and IBD has now been reported in Japan, where it was previously hardly ever heard of.
Ms Bencke said further research was needed to understand the mechanism by which dietary factors interacted with other genetic and environmental factors to trigger IBD in some individuals.
Last Reviewed: 18 October 2002