Eating junk food could increase the risk of developing a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s, according to a study.
Researchers at Georgia State University have found that an unbalanced diet can be linked to the development of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic inflammation of the digestive system that includes two types of disease, namely ulcerative colitis and perhaps the best-known Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation that can affect the walls of the entire digestive tract. It manifests itself through various symptoms, especially diarrhea and abdominal pain. Researchers at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University used for their study data from a major 2015 survey done on 103 789 participants aged 18 to 85.
A detailed assessment of the diet
The survey assessed the consumption of 26 foods in the previous month, ranging from healthy foods such as brown rice, whole grains, fruits and vegetables to junk foods such as sweets, soft drinks and processed meat. Their findings, reported in the journal PLOS One, showed that junk food was frequently consumed by participants with inflammation of the digestive tract.
Scientists observed that French fries, cheese and cookies were consumed by more people with inflammatory bowel disease than by healthy participants. People with chronic inflammation of the digestive tract also more often drank less fruit juice (100% natural). The consumption of French fries, soft drinks and energy drinks was also significantly associated with the likelihood of developing IBD.
Industrialized countries are most affected by Crohn’s disease
On the other hand, by increasing their consumption of certain foods, such as vegetables, they have reduced their chances of suffering from chronic inflammation of the digestive system. Three million American adults are affected by inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s disease is most common in industrialized countries.
The authors of the study added that “although foods that are usually considered bad have been associated with inflammation of the digestive tract, we found that the eating habits of people with and without the disease were very similar,” explained Dr. Moon Han, the study’s lead author. However, it is not clear whether the survey results reflect a possible change in the diet of people with chronic inflammation of the digestive tract before the survey was conducted.