CALORIE NEEDS IN CROHN'S DISEASE: THE BIG DEBATE
You can tell that many with Crohn's aren't meeting their nutritional needs—they are losing weight or look and feel miserable. Often they can't eat enough, because they are nauseous or they don't feel well enough to eat.
Reasons why Crohnies don't meet their nutrient needs:
- Poor absorption with nutrients and blood lost in the bowel movement
- Not feeling well so eating decreases
- Avoiding high calorie foods that worsen their symptoms
- Medications which can lessen their appetite
- Depression and anxious worrying
According to some studies, calories are used up rapidly in active Crohn's disease because inflammation revs up the metabolism. Other research suggests that the calories needed are no different than what a healthy person needs, at least in adults. But you can't compare studies in adults to those in kids because kids also need those calories to grow.
What is certain is that Crohnies (those with Crohn's disease) are at risk for being malnourished and that calories are essential in preventing that.
There's a lot you can do to track calories:
- Keep a food diary of what and how much you drink and eat (even water)
- Review the diary with your doctor or a registered dietitian who knows about the needs in IBD
- Use nutritional shakes or supplements
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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