Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 10, pp 2722–2728 | Cite as

Children with Crohn’s Disease Frequently Consume Select Food Additives

  • Dale LeeEmail author
  • C. Kaiulani Swan
  • David Suskind
  • Ghassan Wahbeh
  • Jairam Vanamala
  • Robert N. Baldassano
  • Mary B. Leonard
  • Johanna W. Lampe
Original Article



Certain food additives may promote the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease (CD), but thus far the evaluation of food additive exposures in humans has been limited. The objective of this study was to quantify food additive exposures in children with CD.


In a trial for bone health in CD, children were followed over 24 months with evaluation of disease characteristics, dietary intake, and body composition. At baseline, participants completed three 24-h dietary recalls. Foods were categorized, and the ingredient list for each item was evaluated for the presence of select food additives: polysorbate-80, carboxymethylcellulose, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, titanium dioxide, carrageenan, maltodextrin, and aluminosilicates. The frequency of exposures to these food additives was described for study participants and for food categories.


At study baseline, 138 participants, mean age 14.2 ± 2.8 years, 95% having inactive or mild disease, were enrolled and dietary recalls were collected. A total of 1325 unique foods were recorded. Mean exposures per day for xanthan gum was 0.96 ± 0.72, carrageenan 0.58 ± 0.63, maltodextrin 0.95 ± 0.77, and soy lecithin 0.90 ± 0.74. The other additives had less than 0.1 exposures per day. For the 8 examined food additives, participants were exposed to a mean (SD) of 3.6 ± 2.1 total additives per recall day and a mean (SD) of 2.4 ± 1.0 different additives per day.


Children with CD frequently consume food additives, and the impact on disease course needs further study.


Food additives Crohn’s disease Dietary recall Nutrition Methodology 



The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. James D. Lewis for editing the manuscript.


NIH R01-DK073946 (MBL), K24-DK076808 (MBL), T32-DK007740 (DL), the University of Pennsylvania Clinical and Translational Science Award (UL1-RR-024134 and UL1-TR-000003); P30 CA015704 (Cancer Core Grant funding Nutrition Assessment Shared Resource); and the Clinical Research Scholar’s Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital (DL).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Supplementary material

10620_2018_5145_MOESM1_ESM.docx (81 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 80 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seattle Children’s HospitalSeattleUSA
  2. 2.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Penn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.The Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Stanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA
  6. 6.Division of Public Health SciencesFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA

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