Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), encompassing two main conditions – Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), are multifactorial chronic intestinal inflammatory diseases with increasing incidence worldwide, especially in countries adopting a westernized lifestyle. Recent findings point towards a major impact of diet on human health since it can affect both the gut microbiota and the host response. Epidemiological studies have identified that the consumption of processed food, red meat, saturated fat and low fibre/vegetables are high-risk factors for IBD, while the consumption of fatty fish, fermentable fibres and vegetables lowers risk for IBD. Experimental studies have supported these findings. Animals fed certain specific diets demonstrate alterations in host immune responses and microbiota composition including the blooming of pathobionts as a result of diet treatment. Recent seminal studies have also provided evidence on the role of food additives such as emulsifiers in IBD and metabolic diseases. In the future, controlled trials and mechanistic studies will identify diet-induced beneficial or triggering mechanisms which will lead to the development of new treatment strategies for these debilitating diseases.

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