Red Meat, Drinking May Raise Colitis Relapse
A high intake of red meat or alcohol may increase the risk of
relapse among people with ulcerative colitis, a study shows.
Among 183 patients whose ulcerative colitis was in remission,
those who consumed the most meat or alcohol had roughly three
times the risk of relapse over the next year as those with the
lowest intakes. A high intake of red and processed meats was
especially harmful; men and women with the highest intakes were
more than five times as likely to relapse as those with the lowest
According to the study authors, the blame may lie with the sulphur
compounds found in high-protein foods and in some processed products
such as beer and sausages. Sulphur compounds are converted in
the colon into substances such as hydrogen sulphide—which
may play a role in the inflammation that marks ulcerative colitis.
If the new findings are correct, the researchers conclude, they
would point to an important way to cut the risk of symptom re-emergence.
Until now, only unchangeable factors—such as a history
of frequent relapse—have been linked to the risk of future
relapse. Still, the authors point out, more research is needed
before low-meat or low-sulphur diets can be called protective.
Volume 53, page 1479