Diet remains an important part of disease prevention and management.
In a new study, researchers found that consumption of fructose (i.e. fruit sugar) may worsen intestinal inflammation common to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
The research was conducted by a team at Stony Brook University and Weill Cornell Medicine.
Rates of IBD have been increasing worldwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately three million Americans are diagnosed with IBD each year, up to one million from incidence in the late 1990s.
Consumption of a Western diet, including fructose, is linked to increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, and IBD may be an additional disease exacerbated by fructose intake.
In the study, the team tested three mouse models of IBD.
They were fed high amounts of fructose, which worsened colonic inflammation along with notable effects in their gut bacteria including changes in their type, metabolism, and localization within the colon.
The findings provide evidence of a direct link between dietary fructose and IBD and support the concept that high consumption of fructose could worsen disease in people with IBD.
This is important because it has the potential to provide guidance on diet choices for IBD patients, something that is currently lacking.
The team says several next steps are planned to expand upon these findings.
These include the development of interventions to prevent the pro-inflammatory effects of dietary fructose as well as evaluating whether this diet increases colitis-associated tumorigenesis.
This second point is particularly important because IBD patients are at increased risk of developing colon cancer due to a lifetime of chronic inflammation of the gut.
One author of the study is David Montrose, Ph.D. from the Renaissance School of Medicine.
The study is published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
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