Part 2 on Protein & Nutrition Shakes: Top 5 Questions
In part 1, I talked about how much diet and nutrition can impact the lives of patients who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
I mentioned how common it is to develop issues related to food, weight, and self-esteem. I also shared how natural (and healthy) it is for both newly diagnosed patients and those who have suffered from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis for many years to continue to research how to improve quality of life.
We all want answers and there are tons of questions surrounding this chronic disease.
Protein and nutrition supplements are talked about a significant amount in the IBD community and I wanted to address the 5 questions I posed in part 1.
1. Do I need a shake or supplement?
Does someone who suffers from Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis need a protein shake or nutrition supplement?
The short answer is no, not every person who suffers from a form of IBD needs to drink a protein shake and/or take nutrition supplements.
First, it is important to look at who is advising you. If it is your doctor suggesting it because you are deficient in certain vitamins/minerals, then it may make sense for you. If you are having a hard time eating, or if you need extra calories after losing a lot of weight from a flare-up or surgery, it may make sense for you.
But in general, protein shakes and nutrition supplements are not that important if you are able to eat a well-balanced diet.
2. Do protein shakes help GI problems?
Will it help with GI distress to incorporate protein/nutrition shakes daily?
Oftentimes, when a person’s intestines are inflamed or there are ulcers present, consuming solid food can be painful. So in this case, it would make sense to try a protein or nutrition shake in order to keep you from becoming malnourished.
If a person is able to drink without too many issues, then good nutrition can help keep energy levels while you are trying to get your body back on track.
3. Can supplements improve my daily life?
Will protein/nutrition shakes or supplements improve my quality of life?
Maybe but maybe not. If you are someone who is able to eat a variety of nutritious foods, then a protein/nutrition shake is generally not needed to help your quality of life.
If your diet is limited because of your disease, or any other reason for that matter, then ingesting great quality liquid nutrition can be enormously beneficial.
4. Will replacement shakes help my symptoms?
If I drink these shakes instead of eating, will I feel better?
This goes back to the reason why you have decided to consume protein/nutrition shakes. If it is because you are unable to eat without pain or bathroom issues, then I’d venture to guess getting your nutrition in a liquid form might help you feel better.
However, it is important to understand that generally, it is not a substitute for actual food. In my opinion, drinking your calories instead of eating them can be a great temporary solution until your disease is better under control.
5. Can supplements replace treatment?
If I stick to supplements instead of real food, will that allow me to stop my medication and/or prolong surgery?
My honest response to this is probably not, but it really depends on the severity of your IBD. Please always speak to your doctor before stopping any medication.
Who should you ask? Your doctor
For those reading this who had questions about this type of nutrition, I hope this was helpful in some way. As mentioned earlier and in part 1 of this article, everyone who suffers from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis is different. We all need to figure out what works best for our bodies, our minds, and our lives.
It does help to know the options or have things to talk to your doctor about. If you are curious about this topic, please reach out to your GI or another medical professional. (Make sure it is someone who understands what IBD is!)
No magic supplement or cure
Before I end this article, I do need to state once again that there is no cure for IBD. While many people on the internet claim to have cured themselves or stopped all medication by giving up gluten, sugar, etc., there is no scientific evidence to support those claims.
While eliminating or adding certain foods can help symptoms in some people, there is still no cure at this time.
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