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HomeHealth and MedicalRed Meat Consumption Tied to Higher Chance of UC Flare

Red Meat Consumption Tied to Higher Chance of UC Flare

— But similar association not seen for other high fat foods

Ed Susman, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today

ORLANDO – For people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), that hamburger may come with more than just a side of fries — red meat consumption was linked with a higher risk for ulcerative colitis (UC) flare, researchers reported.

According to an analysis of data from the IBD Partners research, patients with UC who were in the highest quartile of red meat consumption had a higher rate of disease flare versus those in the bottom quartile (OR 2.60, 95% CI 1.26-5.70), according to Adar Zinger, MD, of the University of Chicago Medicine IBD Center.

However, the same association was not seen for Crohn’s disease (CD) flare (OR 1.22, 95% CI 0.75-1.98), nor was it “found with other dietary items high in saturated fat,” such as ice cream, pizza, chocolate, cheese, or milk, explained Zinger during a poster presentation at the Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases annual meeting.

Socrates Bautista, MD, of the Center for Diagnosis, Advanced Medicine, and Telemedicine (CEDIMAT) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, called the study “interesting,” and explained to MedPage Today that “in my country, we eat rice, beans, and red meat. I think this type of information may be helpful in getting my patients with IBDs to change their diets.”

But Bautista, who was not involved in the study, called it “curious…that red meat appears to play a role in UC flares, but other food with high saturated fat…does not. I think this needs more investigation.”

IBD Partners was a longitudinal internet-led cohort study that collected information from adults on demographics, IBD history, and nutritional preferences, using a 26-item dietary questionnaire. Participants did follow-up surveys every 6 months, mainly to keep track of changes in disease activity.

For their study, “dietary intake of food items high in saturated fats was categorized into quartiles and compared using chi square test,” Zingers and colleagues said. Clinical remission was defined as <3 for UC on the Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index and <150 for CD on the Short CD Activity Index. "Disease flare was defined as disease activity index score above the cutoffs for remission and/or hospitalization for IBD," the researchers stated.

The study population had 317 patients with UC (median age 44; 65.6% women; 86.8% white) and 734 with CD (58; 71%; 95.5%, respectively). Median disease duration for the UC group was 9 years while for the CD group it was 13 years. More patients with CD than UC were currently on biologics (35.4% vs 18%).

The median time from baseline to the follow-up visit was 6.9 months in both groups. The researchers reported that 26.8% of UC patients and 20% of CD patients had disease flare during the study period.

While research has been done on the ties between diet in general and IBD, Zinger said the current study attempted to determine which specific foods might be associated with disease flare.

  • author['full_name']

    Ed Susman is a freelance medical writer based in Fort Pierce, Florida, USA.


Zinger and Bautista disclosed no relationships with industry.

Primary Source

Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Source Reference: Zinger, A et al “High red meat consumption is associated with ulcerative colitis flare” AIBD 2023.

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