This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Crohn’s disease affects more than 500,000 Americans. People with Crohn’s disease have ongoing stomach pain, cramping, and diarrhea. These symptoms can reduce patients’ quality of life and require hospital stays or surgery.
Most people with Crohn’s disease need treatment with medicine. However, these medicines may not get rid of all symptoms and may have side effects. A person’s diet can affect symptoms, but doctors don’t know if some diets are better for people with Crohn’s disease than others.
This research study is comparing the effects of two diets on symptoms and bowel inflammation in patients with Crohn’s disease.
- The first is the specific carbohydrate diet, or SCD. This diet limits the types of carbohydrates a person can eat. The diet allows fruits, vegetables except potatoes and yams, unprocessed meats, and some lactose-free dairy. Grains such as wheat, rice, and oats aren’t allowed.
- The second diet is the Mediterranean-style diet, or MSD. This diet allows more fiber and less red meat than Americans usually eat. The MSD has many health benefits and may be easier for people to follow than the SCD.
Who can this research help?
Patients with Crohn’s disease and their doctors can use findings from the study to learn how certain diets affect their symptoms.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is enrolling 194 adults with Crohn’s disease. Patients must have access to a computer with internet. They must also be able to have food delivered to them for six weeks. The team assigns patients by chance to either the SCD or MSD. Patients get food delivered to their homes every Friday for six weeks. They get three prepared meals and two snacks for each day. Patients also get recipes for these meals and directions on how to follow the diet on their own after the deliveries end.
After six weeks, patients can either pay to keep getting the prepared meals or continue the diet on their own. Using patient-reported symptoms and results from blood and stool tests, the research team tracks patients’ diarrhea, stomach pain, well-being, and any swelling in the bowels at 6 and 12 weeks. The team also looks at how many patients continue the diets on their own after six weeks and, for patients who stop their diet, their reasons for stopping.
Patients, clinicians, and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation are helping to plan and conduct the study.