Higher intake of ultra-processed food implicated in Crohn’s disease
Individuals who eat high amounts of ultra-processed food and lower amounts of unprocessed or minimally processed food are at increased risk of Crohn’s disease (CD) but not ulcerative colitis (UC), as reported in a study.
Conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis, researchers searched multiple online databases for cohort studies in which the association between food processing and the risk of the subtypes of inflammatory bowel disease was explored. The Newcastle-Ottawa scale Risk was used to assess the risk of bias of the included studies.
The meta-analysis included five cohort studies, which comprised a total of 1,068,425 participants (average age 43–56 years, 55–83 percent women) with 13,594,422 person-years of follow-up. Four of these studies were scored as high quality.
Pooled data showed that CD developed in 916 participants and UC in 1,934 participants. The risk of developing CD was elevated for participants with higher vs lower consumption of ultra-processed foods (hazard ratio [HR], 1.71, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.37–2.14; I2=0 percent). Meanwhile, CD risk was lower for participants with higher vs lower consumption of unprocessed or minimally processed foods (HR, 0.71, 95 percent CI, 0.53–0.94; I2=11 percent).
No association was noted between the risk of UC and intake of ultra-processed foods (HR, 1.17, 95 percent CI, 0.86–1.61; I2=74 percent) or unprocessed/minimally processed foods (HR, 0.84, 95 percent CI, 0.68–1.02; I2=0 percent).