Elemental Diet vs Steroids for Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis

October 21, 2013

Girl Drinking_MediumWhat is Elemental Diet?

The term “elemental diet” is used to describe a special liquid diet used for various medical reasons.

Elemental diet is used for IBD patients who cannot eat solid food because they either feel too sick to eat normal meals or afraid to eat due to abdominal pain, cramps and diarrhea triggered by regular eating.

My IBD (Colitis & Crohn’s) Healing System™ incorporates a special Elemental Diet specifically designed  to resolve intestinal inflammation because food can work as a powerful medicine in your body when used correctly.

Elemental Diet vs strong medication like steroids?

Elemental diet was clinically tested and used as a primary non-drug treatment for patients with acute Crohn’s disease for decades in Europe.

The results of the study published in British Medical Journal: Elemental diet is a safe and effective treatment for acute Crohn’s disease. Patients treated with the elemental diet had improved as much as and by some criteria more than the steroid treated group.”

Steroids have been used as a treatment for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease for decades. Steroids can be helpful in the short term; however over time patients become dependent on steroids and experience devastating side effects: bone loss and pain, mood swings and high susceptibility to infections. Therefore, steroids are not a good long-term solution.

What Elemental Diet can do for You?

  • Allows your gut to recover and heal
  • Can induce remission in IBD patients in just 7 days
  • Promotes GI healing in patients who do not respond to steroids
  • Improves digestion and absorption significantly

In my practice I use elemental diet with great success for patients with Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis.

Unfortunately, very few patients know about the benefits of elemental diet and how to use this simple and very effective diet to promote colon healing.

Warning: Elemental Diets are NOT created equal

When I worked as a dietitian in  hospitals and nursing homes, we used elemental diet formulas sold in cans for patients who could not eat solid food.

Problems with commercial elemental diet: many patients complain that commercial formulas taste awful. Moreover, because the ingredients in commercial enteral formulas range from useless to downright harmful, number of patients do not experience benefits of elemental. And here is why: US leading brand of commercially available formula contain mostly the following ingredients:  Glucose Syrup, Casein and Sucrose. Look for yourself:

1. Glucose Syrup – also known as corn syrup in US, and it has as much nutritional value as table sugar. Sugar can cause fermentation bloating and diarrhea patients with active Crohn’s and Colitis.

2. Casein is a protein in milk. IBD patients at the time of the flare cannot digest lactose (milk sugar) and are better off without dairy.

3. Sucrose is another name for white table sugar. Sucrose is a combination of fructose and glucose molecules.

Table Sugar = Fructose + Glucose

Both Glucose syrup and Sucrose are simple refined sugars, which can change body pH to highly acidic. Furthermore, sugar feeds harmful bacteria and yeast like Candida in our gut. This, in turn, can cause more bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Therefore, it’s better to avoid products with refined sugar especially at the time of the flare.

Because most IBD patients cannot tolerate milk or sugar, (especially at the time of the flare) commercial formulas which contain these ingredients, can trigger more bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

A well designed elemental diet can be used as an alternative to commercial formulas to reduce or even eliminate steroid use and maintain remission without drug treatments.

It took me over 20 years to develop an effective, tasty and inexpensive elemental diet, which is integral part of my IBD Healing System™. I teach this diet to my patients with Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis who cannot tolerate steroids and cannot bear unpleasant side effects of their CD and UC medications.




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