Ulcerative ColitisUC and Diet

Let's Talk About Ulcerative Colitis and Diet

UC has a way of taking away your appetite (and not just because of what's going on in the bathroom). We'll help you understand the role food plays in your symptoms, and how to ensure it helps you heal instead of hurt.

    Our Pro PanelUC Diet & Nutrition

    We went to some of the nation's top UC experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Kelly Issokson, R.D., C.N.S.C.

    Kelly Issokson, R.D., C.N.S.C.Clinical Nutrition Coordinator

    Nutrition and Integrative IBD Program at Cedars-Sinai
    Los Angeles
    Brittany Roman Green, R.D., C.P.T.

    Brittany Roman Green, R.D., C.P.T.Dietitian Specializing in Digestive Disorders

    San Mateo, CA
    Aline J Charabaty Pishvaian

    Aline Charabaty Pishvaian, M.D.Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    Sibley Memorial Hospital
    Washington, D.C.

    Frequently Asked QuestionsUC & Diet

    What diet should I follow if I have ulcerative colitis?

    There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all “ulcerative colitis diet.” That said, most experts recommend a plant-based, Mediterranean diet, along with working with a registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that works for you. Your R.D. may also recommend a low-residue diet (one limits high-fiber foods) or a low-FODMAP diet, which involves avoiding foods with certain types of sugars, to help reduce your symptoms.

    What should I eat during an ulcerative colitis flare?

    It’s best to work with your doctor or registered dietitian to come up with a meal plan that tailors to your specific needs when you have active UC. Typically, however, foods prepared simply (e.g. grilled, steamed, or poached), low-fiber foods, lean proteins, and fully cooked, peeled, and seedless fruits and non-cruciferous veggies are well-tolerated.

    What foods should I avoid if I have ulcerative colitis?

    Trigger foods vary from person to person. However, some common foods that may worsen UC symptoms include fatty foods, sugary foods, alcohol and caffeine, cruciferous vegetables, and lactose.

    Can I treat ulcerative colitis with diet alone?

    UC can’t be managed with just diet—but it is often an important piece of the puzzle. You’ll likely use a combination of medical therapies along with diet changes to help manage your UC effectively.

    Lara DeSanto

    Lara DeSanto


    Lara DeSanto is a former editor of HealthCentral, where she regularly covered digestive health, sexual health, and cancer. She's now a frequent contributor to the site.