#15: Eat for IBD with Dr Alan Desmond

View #15: Eat for IBD with Dr Alan Desmond


In this episode, we talk about eating for about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Colitis.  We talk through  exactly what IBD is – but the podcast really covers gut health in general.

Today I talk to the incredible Dr Alan Desmond who is a Gastroenterologist based in Devon.  He has some really interesting views on how we can utilise diet and lifestyle to improve not only our gut health but also Type 2 Diabetes, Cholesterol and Cardiovascular diseases – all other features that are really important in today’s healthcare landscape.

In these episodes, we cover:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Colon Cancer
  • Just how influential lifestyle and diet can be on gut health and associated conditions
  • How beneficial a plant focused lifestyle, including increasing your fibre intake and getting more colours onto your plate, can be for inflammatory conditions such as IBD

You’ll hear Dr Alan talk through some fascinating points on the podcast but I wanted to highlight a couple for you here:

‘We live in a country,  here in the UK where 55% of calories come from  ultra processed foods which don’t have any phytonutrients or fibre in them, where the average bacon consumption is 5kg per person per year, where the majority of people aren’t getting anywhere near the recommended daily intake of fibre per day (30g), it’s more like 14 or 15g per day’.

‘Cancer Research UK – would estimate that around 55% of cases of colon cancer in the UK are caused by insufficient dietary fibre, obesity or consumption of meat’.

Certainly some really interesting and eye opening facts from Dr Alan aren’t they.

If I was to  recommend one recipe from my book  The Doctor’s Kitchen, aligning to gut health, it would be the Za’atar bowl – which has lots of different colours, lots of different grains and whole grains plus it’s super simple to make – check it out.

If you think you may be suffering from any Bowel related condition – please contact your GP in the first instance for specific advice.

As with other health related conditions, improvements in diet and lifestyle can be beneficial to your gut health. These include focusing on nutrient dense ingredients, eating more fruits and vegetables and lowering consumption of processed foods and high sugar foods.

Listen to the episode for more in depth information on ‘Eat for IBD’, and try out some of the recipes in my book, on the website and and across social media


Guest: Dr Alan Desmond

Dr Alan Desmond, MB BCh, BMedSc, MRCPI, FRCP

Dr Alan Desmond is a Consultant Gastroenterologist based in Devon. Board Certified in both Gastroenterology and General Internal Medicine, he completed his specialist training in Cork, Dublin and Oxford.

Dr Desmond is his hospital’s Clinical Lead for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a topic on which he has published numerous research papers.

Dr Desmond actively promotes a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet, particularly for patients with chronic digestive disorders. He is a founding Advisory Board member of Plant Based Professionals UK and is currently engaged in Clinical Research evaluating
a Whole Food Plant-based Dietary Intervention as a treatment for patients with Crohn’s disease.

You might find Dr Desmond’s talk on YouTube interesting. It covers the evidence for the role of diet in IBD. The topics discussed are highly relevant to Crohn’s disease in particular, but also have relevance to ulcerative colitis and many other GI disorders.

You’ll also have heard Alan talk about The Happy Gut Course that he is running with The Happy Pear and you can view details on the course here

There are also two scientific reviews of the role of diet in IBD in a paper written for the BMJ and another for the Oxford Academic Journal.

During the podcast, we also cover a second paper covering IBD for the Oxford Academic Journal and have attached a copy of the diet referenced here.


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