Health Conditions A-Z Digestive Disorders Crohn's Disease Foods To Avoid if You Have Crohn’s Disease There’s no one recommended diet for all people with Crohn’s disease, but you might feel better if you cut out certain foods. By Toby Amidor, RD, CDN Toby Amidor, RD, CDN Instagram Twitter Website Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND is a certified dietitian nutritionist, Wall Street Journal best-selling cookbook author, spokesperson, speaker, and recipe developer with over 20 years of experience in the food and nutrition industry. health's editorial guidelines Updated on December 29, 2022 Medically reviewed by Robert Burakoff, MD Medically reviewed by Robert Burakoff, MD Robert Burakoff, MD, MPH, is a board-certified gastroenterologist who serves as vice chair of Ambulatory Services at Lower Manhattan Hospital and professor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College. learn more Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article Fruits to Avoid Vegetables to Avoid Carbs to Avoid Proteins to Avoid Fats to Avoid Dairy Products to Avoid Beverages to Avoid Foods to Eat EMS-FORSTER-PRODUCTIONS / Getty Images There’s no specific diet for Crohn’s disease, but some people feel better and have fewer symptoms after cutting out certain foods.High-fiber and high-FODMAP fruits and vegetables, high-fiber carbohydrates, foods high in fat, dairy products, and sweetened or carbonated beverages can all trigger symptoms.Some foods, including low-fiber fruits, lean proteins, refined grains, and some vegetables may be better tolerated by people with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that impacts more than a half million Americans. In people with Crohn’s disease, an abnormal immune response causes inflammation in the digestive tract that leads to symptoms like: DiarrheaAbdominal pain and crampingWeight lossAnemiaFatigueNausea While there’s no one recommended diet for all people with Crohn’s disease, some people feel better and have fewer symptoms when they cut out specific ingredients like gluten and added sugar or when they follow specific diets like the Mediterranean diet or a paleo-style diet. And, for some people, certain foods can trigger flares and make Crohn’s symptoms worse. Here’s what you should know about foods to avoid if you have Crohn’s disease. Fruits To Avoid With Crohn’s When you’re in remission—a medical term for when your Crohn’s disease activity is low—most people are able to tolerate a variety of fruits. In fact, regularly including fruit in your diet can help ensure you’re getting optimal amounts of important nutrients like vitamins and minerals, plus anti-inflammatory substances like flavonoids. However, most people with Crohn’s disease report that certain fruits worsen their symptoms. Fruits high in carbohydrates called fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides, and polyols—commonly known as FODMAPs—can exacerbate Crohn’s symptoms like diarrhea and bloating. For this reason, many people with Crohn’s feel better avoiding high-FODMAP fruits like: WatermelonMangoApplesPearsFigsBananasAvocadoCucumber Even though FODMAPs don’t affect everyone with Crohn’s, you might want to try experimenting with lower FODMAP fruits like tomatoes. When you’re experiencing a Crohn’s flare—a worsening of symptoms—you’ll need to significantly change your diet to take stress off of your digestive system and help minimize symptoms. Choosing fruits that are easier to digest—like cooked fruits and low-FODMAP soft fruits like cantaloupe—is best. Vegetables To Avoid With Crohn’s Like fruits, certain vegetables are higher in FODMAPs than others. If you find that you’re sensitive to high-FODMAP foods, consider avoiding the following vegetables: ArtichokesOnionsGarlicCauliflowerMushroomsSweet potatoesZucchini Instead, opt for low-FODMAP choices like spinach and potatoes. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts contain fibers that can worsen Crohn’s symptoms like bloating and diarrhea, so they may have to be avoided, too. When you’re in a flare, you’ll also want to steer clear of raw vegetables and vegetables with skin and seeds, as these are more difficult for your body to break down. Carbs To Avoid With Crohn’s If you’re in remission, you can eat a variety of carbohydrates, including grains and starchy vegetables. But certain carbs are best avoided when you’re in a flare. Grains and other carb sources that are high in fiber are harder to digest and can worsen symptoms like diarrhea, stomach pain, and bloating. Carbs that are high in fiber include: Whole grains like brown rice, barley, popcorn, and wheat berries Beans like black beans, lentils, and chickpeasHigh-fiber breakfast cereals and fiber bars Some carbs can also be high in FODMAPs, which may cause issues if you have Crohn’s disease. For example, wheat-based products and couscous. Some studies show that a gluten-free diet could help reduce symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Gluten is a collective name for a group of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale—a cross between wheat and rye. For this reason, you may want to try cutting food that contains gluten out of your diet for a couple of months to see if it makes a difference in your symptoms. There are plenty of gluten-free carb sources to choose from, including quinoa, fruit, potatoes, brown rice, and gluten-free bread. Eating a Low-Fiber Diet for a Crohn's Disease Flare Proteins To Avoid With Crohn’s Protein is essential for overall health and is especially important when you’re experiencing a flare, since inflammation in your intestinal tract results in the loss of proteins. Most people with Crohn’s disease require 0.55–0.7 grams per pound (1.2–1.5 grams per kilogram) of protein when they’re in a flare. In remission, protein needs typically lie around 0.5 grams per pound (1.0 grams per kilogram). While it’s important for everyone with Crohn’s disease to take in optimal protein, the type of protein you choose can make a big difference in your symptoms, especially when you're in a flare. In general, experts recommend staying away from high-fat protein sources like: Fatty cuts of meatFried proteins like fried chicken Fatty, processed meat products like sausage and bacon Many people with Crohn’s disease feel better when they stick to leaner protein sources like poultry, fish, and eggs. Fats To Avoid With Crohn’s Foods high in fat, especially greasy and fried foods, can make Crohn’s symptoms worse. For example, fried foods are high in peroxidized lipids (POLs)—harmful compounds that can trigger intestinal inflammation and damage the gut lining. Foods high in fat can also trigger Crohn’s symptoms like diarrhea. In a 2020 study that included 223 people with Crohn’s disease, 60% of the participants reported that fried foods made their symptoms worse. Other foods that may trigger Crohn’s symptoms or aggravate flares include: Fatty cuts of meatFatty sauces like gravyFull-fat dairy products like ice cream, butter, and cream However, fat is an important nutrient and there’s no need to avoid all high-fat foods. When in remission, you may be able to tolerate higher-fat options. 20 Popular Foods With Hidden Trans Fat Milk and Dairy Foods To Avoid With Crohn’s Lactose intolerance—when your body can’t properly break down a sugar in milk called lactose—is more common in people with Crohn’s disease compared to the general population. In people with lactose intolerance, eating products made with milk or dairy products can cause symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, and gas. If you’re sensitive to lactose, it’s important to avoid dairy products like: MilkIce creamCheeseButter Some people with lactose intolerance can tolerate small amounts of fermented dairy products like yogurt and hard cheeses, so you could try experimenting and see what works best for you. Beverages To Avoid With Crohn’s Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids is important for people with Crohn’s disease, especially if you’re experiencing diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. However, it’s important to choose beverages that won’t trigger or worsen symptoms. Avoid sweetened and carbonated beverages like: SodaCaffeinated drinks (like coffee and tea)Alcohol These beverages can all be problematic for people with Crohn’s disease because they may worsen symptoms. In the 2020 study that included 223 people with Crohn’s disease, 49% of the participants reported that alcohol worsened their symptoms. Milk and milk-based drinks like milkshakes should be avoided if you're sensitive to lactose. Beneficial Foods To Eat With Crohn’s Everyone with Crohn’s disease has different nutrient needs and food preferences, so it’s important to develop a diet that’s both nutritious and enjoyable. When you’re in a flare, you’ll need to avoid a number of foods in order to reduce symptoms. But, when you’re feeling well, it’s recommended to include a variety of healthy foods, like: Low-fiber fruits like bananas, cantaloupe, or honeydewLean proteins like fish, white meat poultry, soy, or eggsRefined grains like potato or gluten-free bread, white pasta, or white riceFully cooked, seedless, skinless, non-cruciferous vegetables like asparagus, cucumbers, or potatoes These foods may be tolerated for people with Crohn's disease. The Best Foods For People With Crohn's Disease Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. National Library of Medicine. Crohn's disease. National Library of Medicine. Crohn disease. Morton H, Pedley K, Stewart R, Coad J. 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