Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) are prevalent diseases. There is, however, a lack of understanding of the link between diet and IMIDs, how much dietary patterns vary between them and if there are food groups associated with a worsening of the disease.
To answer these questions we analyzed a nation-wide cohort of n = 11,308 patients from six prevalent IMIDs and 2050 healthy controls. We compared their weekly intake of the major food categories, and used a Mendelian randomization approach to determine which dietary changes are caused by disease. Within each IMID, we analyzed the association between food frequency and disease severity.
After quality control, n = 11,230 recruited individuals were used in this study. We found that diet is profoundly altered in all IMIDs: at least three food categories are significantly altered in each disease (P < 0.05). Inflammatory bowel diseases showed the largest differences compared to controls (n ≥ 8 categories, P < 0.05). Mendelian randomization analysis supported that some of these dietary changes, like vegetable reduction in Crohn's Disease (P = 2.5 × 10, OR(95% CI) = 0.73(0.65, 0.80)), are caused by the disease. Except for Psoriatic Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, we have found ≥2 food groups significantly associated with disease severity in the other IMIDs (P < 0.05).
This cross-disease study demonstrates that prevalent IMIDs are associated to a significant change in the normal dietary patterns. This variation is highly disease-specific and, in some cases, it is caused by the disease itself. Severity in IMIDs is also associated with specific food groups. The results of this study underscore the importance of studying diet in IMIDs.