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Nutrition | Overview

Learn about nutrition guidelines and options for children with ulcerative colitis. How important is diet? Are there foods you should avoid? What types of nutrient supplements should be added to your child's diet?

 Summary points

  • Optimizing nutrition is critical to promote growth and development of all patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). A dietitian can help assess growth patterns and the adequacy of the diet.

  • There is no special diet for UC. It is important for children not to exclude food groups for fear of intolerance, without first consulting a dietitian. A frequently discussed issue is the amount of fiber in the diet. There are two types of dietary fiber. Soluble fiber may actually help decrease diarrhea. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is sometimes restricted in patients with active colitis to prevent further irritation of the damaged wall of the colon.

  • The starting point for any healthy diet is using the “Food Pyramid” or “Dietary Guidelines for Americans”. Choices from each food group can be individualized based on a child’s symptoms and preferences.

  • Dietitians will discuss any supplements, vitamins, or minerals being taken, and make adjustments if needed. A daily multi-vitamin is generally recommended for UC patients.

  • Food diaries can be helpful to monitor diet.

  • Alternative diets should be discussed with a dietician to ensure that nutritional needs are being met and proper health maintained.