A growing number of studies are implicating high dietary intake of meat and omega-6 fatty acids as a significant risk factor in the development of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, while also suggesting that higher vitamin D levels may lower the risk.
One study, conducted by researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2011, reviewed the results of 19 separate studies conducted on a total of 2,609 IBD patients and 4,000 controls.
The researchers found that people with the highest intake of fruits and dietary fiber were the least likely to develop Crohn’s disease. People most likely to develop the disease were those with the greatest dietary intake of saturated fat, mono and polyunsaturated fat, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and meat. Similarly, ulcerative colitis risk was greatest among those with the highest intake of fat, polyunsaturated fat, omega-6 fatty acids and meat. Higher vegetable consumption reduced the risk.