High-Sugar Diet May Increase The Risk Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be caused due to a number of reasons – genetic, environmental, microbial and immunologic factors. How one’s diet can make a difference, is something that was not known so far. A new study published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’ claims that sugar binge can lead to irritable bowel movement and up the risk of IBD. The researchers mostly blame the so-called ‘Western diet’, which is high in fat and sugar content, but low in fibres. The nutrient of fibre is known to boost good gut bacteria and improve the immune system of the body. Consuming high sugar-diet and avoiding optimal fibre intake can breed ‘bad’ bacteria, which can further lead to inflammation in the gut.

To fully understand the significance of high-sugar diet in the development of IBD, the scientists from the University of Alberta carried out the research to study the effect of short-term diet high in sugar on susceptibility to colitis (a type of IBD).

(Also Read: 5 Foods High In Sugar That You Must Avoid)

Inflammatory bowel disease can be caused by high sugar intake 

“In this study, we aimed to assess the impact of a short-term dietary exposure to high sugar on colitis susceptibility in order to examine how daily fluctuations in diet may trigger disease flares in susceptible patients. Given the apparent relationship between a high-sugar diet and colitis we hypothesized that a diet high in refined sugar would elicit alterations in gut microbial metabolism and increase disease susceptibility,” said lead author Michael Laffin.

A group of mice were given a high-sugar diet that contained at least 50 percent of sucrose. After two days, they were treated with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to induce colitis. Thereon, Inflammatory bowel disease risk and severity was observed daily. The test subjects (mice) on high-sugar diet exhibited increase in gut permeability and decrease in microbial diversity.

“In this study we demonstrate that a two-day exposure to a high-sugar diet rapidly alters gut microbial composition, depletes short chain fatty acids and increases susceptibility to chemically induced colitis. This effect was significantly attenuated through the supplementation of acetate independently of changes in microbial community composition. These findings are consistent with recent literature purporting the risks of a high-sugar diet in the triggering and perpetuation of inflammatory bowel diseases,” added Michael Laffin.


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