Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) results from the interaction between an individual's immune response and precipitant environmental factors, which generate an anomalous chronic inflammatory response in those who are genetically predisposed. Various feeding practices have been implicated in the origin of IBD based on epidemiological observations in developed countries, but we do not have solid evidence for the etiological role played by specific food types. IBD is associated with frequent nutritional deficiencies, the pattern and severity of which depends on the extent, duration and activity of the inflammation. Nutritional support allows these deficiencies in calories, macro- and micro-nutrients to be rectified. Enteral nutrition is also a primary therapy for IBD, especially for Crohn's disease, as it allows the inflammatory activity to be controlled, kept in remission, and prevents or delays the need for surgery. Nutritional support is especially important in childhood IBD as an alternative to pharmacological treatment. This report discusses the complex relationship between diet and IBD.
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