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Foods to Avoid for Ulcerative Colitis

Foods to Avoid for Ulcerative Colitis?noresize

A key factor in managing Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is knowing what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. The tricky part is that this list of foods depends on which stage your Ulcerative Colitis is in. With UC, there is an active phase and a dormant phase, often referred to as remission.

Although there are foods that are common triggers during both UC flares and remission, the list expands when you’re experiencing active UC symptoms. Keep in mind that UC triggers differ from person to person, so the real key to long-term UC management is identifying what works for you. Easier said than done, right?

If you’ve ever searched on your own to figure out how to manage your UC, you’ve probably found a ton of information. The challenge is that the information on the internet can be contradicting and confusing. If you’re struggling with UC, we recommend enlisting the help of a registered dietitian. They will be able to help you better understand your UC and determine what foods and behaviors most trigger your symptoms.

In the meantime, there are certain foods that exacerbate Colitis symptoms. Eliminating these foods temporarily should be a good place to start.

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Dairy (containing lactose)

Many people with UC have a problem digesting lactose, the protein found in milk. If you suspect dairy might be causing or worsening your symptoms, switch to lactose-free products or dairy substitutes. Coconut milk, almond milk, and rice milk-based products are an easy swap.

Refined Sugar

Sugar can increase inflammation in the gut and cause symptoms to become worse. Try to limit your intake of juice, candy, pastries, and soft drinks.


Alcohol is a known irritant and can increase the inflammation in your gut. Alcohol can also alter gut motility, causing unwanted changes in your bowel movements. We recommend limiting alcohol when possible and opting for drinks without added sugars.


Caffeine can stimulate the intestines and trigger UC symptoms such as Diarrhea and urgency. If your symptoms become worse after coffee or soda, reduce your intake or substitute a decaffeinated version.

High Fat Foods

High fat foods can contribute to intestinal inflammation. They may also be more difficult to digest, which contributes to nutrient malabsorption. High fat foods include fried food, butter, cream, high fat meat products, and baked goods.

High Fiber Foods

High fiber foods are part of a healthy, well-rounded diet. However, when UC symptoms are active, you may need to temporarily limit fiber intake to reduce inflammation and allow your gut to heal. High fiber foods are harder to digest and can trigger UC symptoms. High fiber foods include whole grains, fruits with skin and seeds, vegetables with skin and seeds, raw vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes.

Spicy Food

Overly spicy food can irritate and stimulate the digestive tract, causing increased pain, urgency, and diarrhea. Try sticking to mild, lightly seasoned food.

While this list is a guide to alleviate your UC symptoms, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all fix. For a more tailored approach and guidance on what will work best for you, we recommend working with a dietitian.

Learn more about our approach to UC

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