First off, I want to define “diet” in my own words: an eating plan that is individualized for a person’s optimal health and has the potential to change over time.
The doctors might not agree, but I have no doubt that the foods one chooses to eat, and even more so the foods one chooses not to eat, can play a large role in any digestive disease, including UC, whether it’s to alleviate symptoms or keep a person in remission. The colon is part of the digestive system, not to mention part of the human body, and in a working system, all parts play a role, and all parts are affected by the input, either directly or indirectly.
In this case, food can directly affect the colon, like when fibrous food scrapes its walls or a slimy food lines the walls, or it could indirectly affect it, such as when an inflammatory food is eaten. That brings me to another point: Just because most nutrients aren’t absorbed in the colon, doesn’t mean that they don’t still affect the colon.
Any doctor would agree that in a flare, we need to decrease inflammation – that’s why they prescribe prednisone. But instead of just adding in anti-inflammatory drugs, why don’t they first suggest removing the inflammatory foods?
I don’t mean to group all doctors in one narrow-minded category – they all fall along a spectrum, somewhere between believing that diet plays no role and believing that diet plays a large role in the treatment and prevention of UC flares. However, the fact that there’s such a spectrum is what is concerning.
I suppose if there’s no research to back up diets, then that’s somewhat of a reason…after all, I like hard science and ideas backed up beyond doubt too. But what about all of the testimonials of patients? Why don’t those have a larger influence on doctors’ views of diet? How can recoveries based on diets be completely ignored? I know doctors want to see clinical trials, not blog posts, and I want to see more research too, but I at least take into account what I read about from real people getting real results from diet. Even without any clinical trials, I feel comfortable saying that diet does play a key role, partially based on what I’ve read about diet in general and UC in general, partially based on the testimonials of others, and partially based on common sense.
On the bright side, Rush University recently began a clinical trial for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. As far as I know, it’s the first legitimate trial done for this diet. I emailed them saying I’d like to participate as a control subject; I tried the SCD a few years ago, and although it didn’t work for me, it has worked for so many others, and I want to do what I can to further research on it. If I’m eligible, I’ll need to send in surveys, two stool samples, and a urine sample. (I can do these things blindfolded.)
Well that’s today’s rant! I’m no doctor, or chiropractor or nutritionist or biologist for that matter, but by hearing what each has had to say, I’ve learned a few things and can deduce some more. Plus, I have UC, and I know very well that when I started with the Chinese herbs and ate a very limited diet, I got my health back. But that’s hardly evidence, right?