Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

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Quick GuideUlcerative Colitis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What is an ulcerative colitis diet?

A person with ulcerative colitis may find they need to modify their diet to help manage their symptoms. There is not a single diet or meal plan that fits everyone with ulcerative colitis, and diets are individualized for each patient. Depending on symptoms different types of diets may be recommended, such as:

  • A high-calorie diet: Many people with ulcerative colitis lose weight and can develop signs of malnutrition. A high calorie diet may prevent these problems.
  • A lactose-free diet: People with ulcerative colitis may also have lactose intolerance.
  • A low-fat diet: Ulcerative colitis may interfere with fat absorption and eating fatty foods may trigger symptoms. This is often recommended during an ulcerative colitis flare.
  • A low-fiber diet (low-residue diet): This can help reduce the frequency of bowel movements and abdominal cramps.
  • A low-salt diet: This diet is used when patients are on corticosteroid therapy to help reduce water retention.
  • A low FODMAP diet: FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccha-rides and Polyols, which are types of sugars found in certain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols. This diet is used in people who have intolerance to FODMAPS.
  • A gluten-free diet: People with ulcerative colitis may also be sensitive to gluten.

Attention to nutrition is important for patients with ulcerative colitis, as the symptoms of diarrhea and bleeding can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and loss of nutrients. It may be necessary to take nutritional supplements if your symptoms do not allow you to eat a nutritionally balanced diet. Talk to your health-care professional about what supplements to take. Many people with ulcerative colitis find it easiest to eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than a few large ones. This can also help increase the nutrition absorbed from the foods you eat.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/6/2016

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  • Ulcerative Colitis Diet - Type of Diet

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