Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affects every sufferer differently. Something which can cause flares and be a total no go to one person can be absolutely fine for another. This is why it would always grate on me when people said different foods can cause/cure IBD. Whilst I don’t believe they can cure it, anyone who has IBD knows that isn’t true, certain foods and diets can help alleviate symptoms. Something I’ve read a lot about is dairy and how milk/dairy products can cause flares.
Before I go fully into this post, I just want to do a little disclaimer that I’m not a medical professional, I’m just talking from personal experience and sharing what I’ve learnt!
When you google what to eat when you have IBD, I can guarantee the majority will say cut down or completely stop having dairy products. The main reason for this is that symptoms in many people get worse after having milk/dairy products. A lot of research has been done into this and it is very varied.
Whilst a lot of studies show that milk doesn’t necessarily trigger flares, IBD patients, especially those with Ulcerative Colitis, have a much higher chance of having some kind of dairy allergy. I know personally, I’ve always struggled having whole milk especially and used to go to the doctors and hospital a lot when I was younger. Whilst I wasn’t ever diagnosed with a dairy allergy, milk for me has always been a bit tricky.
I’ll be honest with you, when I used to try and find diets to help relieve symptoms, I was always reluctant to cut out dairy mainly because I love cheese!
However, the last time I had to properly think about how my food affected my disease was three years ago and I think today there are so many good dairy free alternatives today which you might want to try.
Innocent Drinks has recently brought out a new range of dairy free milk which I’ve been trying and they are fab! The almond milk is great in an iced coffee and the oat milk makes some seriously fluffy scrambled eggs in the morning as well as yummy pancakes! If you’re looking for a chocolate milk alternative, the hazulnut milk is a great one (and is great for baking with too!). The other great thing about these is that there’s no added sugar and they’re all made of 3 ingredients! I really wish there’d been the variety of diary free milk even a few years ago as I’m sure this might have helped me!
I’ve seen a lot of things on Twitter saying that Tesco has a great free from section as well with a really wide variety if you’re looking to cut dairy out completely.
Like everything to do with IBD, it’s all trial and error and whatever works for one person may not work for another.
Make sure you talk to you doctor/IBD nurse/dietician before you make any changes. Whilst many IBD patients can’t have milk/dairy, there’s also a much higher chance that you’ll have a calcium deficiency. This is for a few reasons; firstly there’s a good chance you just don’t absorb it as well. The second reason is that being on steroids, especially for long periods of time, can lead to issues such as osteoporosis. Therefore it’s really important to seek medical advice before making radical changes to your diet.
Have you found that dairy affects your IBD?
Some of the products in this post have been gifted however, all opinions are my own