What Food to Avoid With Crohn's Disease

Updated July 18, 2017

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), "no special diet has been proven effective for preventing or treating Crohn's disease." Keeping a food diary is the best way to determine what foods to avoid or limit. Write down what you eat and how you feel afterwards so you can recognise what foods cause your symptoms (gas, bloating, cramping, and diarrhoea) to flare up.

Dairy Products

Dairy products can cause a flare-up of symptoms. If you find these foods troublesome, talk to your doctor about possible lactose intolerance. He may recommend enzymes to help you break down the lactose, or sugars, in dairy foods, which may bring relief.

Facts on Fat

According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals with Crohn's disease that affects the small intestine have trouble digesting fat normally; undigested, the fat can exacerbate diarrhoea. Butter and margarine, creamy sauces, and fried foods may aggravate symptoms.

What About Fiber?

Good nutrition is based upon a diet high in fibre, but fruits, vegetables, and beans can cause flare-ups for those with Crohn's. Cruciferous vegetables, among them broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage produce gas and may need to be avoided.


Water is best, according to the Mayo Clinic; drink plenty of it. Beverages with caffeine or alcohol can make diarrhoea worse. Carbonated drinks can cause gas pains.

Be Flexible

If raw fruits and vegetables bother you, cook them. If large meals are bothersome, eat smaller meals more frequently. Managing Crohn's disease can be frustrating, but with persistence and creativity, it's possible to find a healthy, appealing diet plan.

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About the Author

Based in the Southeast, Sally Miles has been a freelance writer and editor for nearly a decade. She has written for "For Me" magazine and holds a master's degree in English from Columbia University.