Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background and aimsUltra-processed food [UPF] consumption has been linked to globally increasing incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel diseases [IBD]. We aimed to investigate the association between UPF consumption and IBD incidence, prevalence, and IBD-relevant outcomes.MethodsWe performed a cross-sectional and prospective cohort study in 187 854 individuals included in the national UK Biobank, using 24-h dietary recall questionnaires. Multivariable logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard regression were used to examine the association between UPFs and the prevalence and incidence risk of IBD, respectively.ResultsA total of 185 849 participants with a mean age of 56.2 were included, with a mean follow-up of 9.84 years. During follow-up, 841 developed IBD (251 Crohn's disease [CD], and 590 ulcerative colitis [UC]). UPF intake in IBD patients was significantly higher: CD: odds ratio [OR] 1.94 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.52, 2.49, p <0.001); UC: OR 1.39 [95% CI: 1.17, 1.65, p <0.001]. Compared with low consumption, higher UPF consumption was significantly associated with incident CD: hazard ration [HR] 2.00 [95% CI: 1.32, 3.03, p = 0.001], but not UC. We also found a significant association between UPF intake and need of IBD-related surgery: HR 4.06 [95% CI: 1.52, 10.86, p = 0.005].ConclusionHigher intake of UPFs was associated with higher incidence of CD, but not UC. In individuals with a pre-existing diagnosis of IBD, consumption of UPFs was significantly higher compared with controls, and was associated with an increased need for IBD-related surgery. Further studies are needed to address the impact of UPF intake on disease pathogenesis and outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Crohn's & colitis

Publication Date





535 - 552


School of Public Health and Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.


Humans, Colitis, Ulcerative, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Crohn Disease, Risk Factors, Prospective Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Middle Aged, Biological Specimen Banks, United Kingdom, Food, Processed