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6 Drinks That May Trigger Crohn's / Colitis Symptoms

Written by
Brittany Rogers, MS RDN
September 29, 2022
Milk or cream

Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnose, or treat medical diseases. It is strictly for informational purposes. Prior to undertaking any change in treatment or diet seek the advice of your physician. This blog post does not replace individualized medical nutrition therapy or medical advice.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on the top 12 trigger foods for people with Crohn’s or colitis according to 9 research studies. This week we’re diving back into those studies to share the top 6 beverages that trigger symptoms according to IBD patients. 

Keep in mind that these studies were based on patient reported triggers...which may or may not be accurate. Sometimes it can be hard for people to identify all of their trigger foods or beverages so take these research study results with a grain of salt (or a splash of lime)!

Top 6 Beverages that Trigger Symptoms

(According to 9 Studies of Patient-Reported Symptoms)

  1. Milk/cream
  2. Alcohol
  3. Energy drinks and soda
  4. Coffee/tea
  5. Carbonated beverages
  6. Fruit juice
Top 6 trigger beverages according to 9 studies

Participants in 6 out of the 9 research studies reported that milk/cream most commonly triggered symptoms. Alcohol was reported as a trigger for study participants in 5 out of 9 studies.

Energy drinks (including soda), coffee and tea, as well as carbonated beverages were reported by study participants to trigger symptoms in 3 out of the 9 research studies. Fruit juice was reported to trigger symptoms in only one out of the 9 research studies.

Also, keep in mind that some of these beverages may not trigger symptoms for you, but are suggested in research studies to increase the growth of certain types of bad gut bacteria which may lead to worsening inflammation.

Others may just trigger symptoms but have no effect on inflammation. For instance, to my knowledge, no research suggests that coffee or tea increases bad gut bacteria but some patients have reported these beverages to worsen symptoms.

References

  1. Cohen AB, Lee D, Long MD, Kappelman MD, Martin CF, Sandler RS, Lewis JD. Dietary patterns and self-reported associations of diet with symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Dig Dis Sci. 2013 May;58(5):1322-8. doi: 10.1007/s10620-012-2373-3. Epub 2012 Aug 26. PMID: 22923336; PMCID: PMC3552110.
  2. Limdi JK, Aggarwal D, McLaughlin JT. Dietary Practices and Beliefs in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2016 Jan;22(1):164-70. doi: 10.1097/MIB.0000000000000585. PMID: 26383912.
  3. de Vries JHM, Dijkhuizen M, Tap P, Witteman BJM. Patient's Dietary Beliefs and Behaviours in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Dig Dis. 2019;37(2):131-139. doi: 10.1159/000494022. Epub 2018 Nov 2. PMID: 30391940; PMCID: PMC6381876.
  4. Vagianos K, Clara I, Carr R, Graff LA, Walker JR, Targownik LE, Lix LM, Rogala L, Miller N, Bernstein CN. What Are Adults With Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Eating? A Closer Look at the Dietary Habits of a Population-Based Canadian IBD Cohort. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2016 Mar;40(3):405-11. doi: 10.1177/0148607114549254. Epub 2014 Sep 4. PMID: 25189173.
  5. Zallot C, Quilliot D, Chevaux JB, Peyrin-Biroulet C, Guéant-Rodriguez RM, Freling E, Collet-Fenetrier B, Williet N, Ziegler O, Bigard MA, Guéant JL, Peyrin-Biroulet L. Dietary beliefs and behavior among inflammatory bowel disease patients. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2013 Jan;19(1):66-72. doi: 10.1002/ibd.22965. PMID: 22467242.
  6. Pituch-Zdanowska A, Kowalska-Duplaga K, Jarocka-Cyrta E, Stawicka A, Dziekiewicz M, Banaszkiewicz A. Dietary Beliefs and Behaviors Among Parents of Children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. J Med Food. 2019 Aug;22(8):817-822. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2018.0206. Epub 2019 May 7. PMID: 31063436.
  7. Green TJ, Issenman RM, Jacobson K. Patients' diets and preferences in a pediatric population with inflammatory bowel disease. Can J Gastroenterol. 1998 Nov-Dec;12(8):544-9. doi: 10.1155/1998/928706. PMID: 9926264.
  8. Triggs CM, Munday K, Hu R, Fraser AG, Gearry RB, Barclay ML, Ferguson LR. Dietary factors in chronic inflammation: food tolerances and intolerances of a New Zealand Caucasian Crohn's disease population. Mutat Res. 2010 Aug 7;690(1-2):123-38. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2010.01.020. Epub 2010 Feb 6. PMID: 20144628.
  9. Jowett SL, Seal CJ, Phillips E, Gregory W, Barton JR, Welfare MR. Dietary beliefs of people with ulcerative colitis and their effect on relapse and nutrient intake. Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;23(2):161-70. doi: 10.1016/S0261-5614(03)00132-8. PMID: 15030955.
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