The Specific Carbohydrate Diet and Diet Modification as Induction Therapy for Pediatric Crohn's Disease: A Randomized Diet Controlled Trial.

Nutrients. 2020;12(12)

Plain language summary

Crohn’s disease is a painful chronic lifelong condition where the digestive tract gets inflamed. Environmental insults and gut microbial changes may contribute to immune dysregulation by activating and upregulating the immune system in Crohn’s disease. During this single-centre, randomised, double-blind, diet-controlled study, ten male active Crohn's disease patients aged seven to eighteen were randomly assigned to either a specific carbohydrate diet, a modified specific carbohydrate diet, or a whole food diet. All diet groups showed a reduction in symptoms, inflammation, and a positive change in the gut microbial composition after 12 weeks, depending on the degree of variability in the dietary regimen. Based on the results of this study, an exclusionary diet eliminating grains, sugar, dairy, and processed foods may have a positive impact on reducing Crohn's disease symptoms, inflammation, and improving gut microbial composition and biochemical markers. In the future, robust studies with a larger sample size will be needed to figure out better dietary strategies for Crohn's disease. Healthcare professionals can, however, use these results to identify dietary choices that can reduce Crohn's disease symptoms.


BACKGROUND Crohn's disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory intestinal disorder associated with intestinal dysbiosis. Diet modulates the intestinal microbiome and therefore has a therapeutic potential. The aim of this study is to determine the potential efficacy of three versions of the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) in active Crohn's Disease. METHODS 18 patients with mild/moderate CD (PCDAI 15-45) aged 7 to 18 years were enrolled. Patients were randomized to either SCD, modified SCD(MSCD) or whole foods (WF) diet. Patients were evaluated at baseline, 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks. PCDAI, inflammatory labs and multi-omics evaluations were assessed. RESULTS Mean age was 14.3 ± 2.9 years. At week 12, all participants (n = 10) who completed the study achieved clinical remission. The C-reactive protein decreased from 1.3 ± 0.7 at enrollment to 0.9 ± 0.5 at 12 weeks in the SCD group. In the MSCD group, the CRP decreased from 1.6 ± 1.1 at enrollment to 0.7 ± 0.1 at 12 weeks. In the WF group, the CRP decreased from 3.9 ± 4.3 at enrollment to 1.6 ± 1.3 at 12 weeks. In addition, the microbiome composition shifted in all patients across the study period. While the nature of the changes was largely patient specific, the predicted metabolic mode of the organisms increasing and decreasing in activity was consistent across patients. CONCLUSIONS This study emphasizes the impact of diet in CD. Each diet had a positive effect on symptoms and inflammatory burden; the more exclusionary diets were associated with a better resolution of inflammation.

Lifestyle medicine

Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Microorganisms
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition ; Environment
Functional Laboratory Testing : Not applicable

Methodological quality

Jadad score : 5
Allocation concealment : No