Research Article

Breakfast and Crohn's disease.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 09 April 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:943
  1. A H James


    The breakfast habits in adult life of 34 patients with Crohns disease were compared with those of 68 matched controls. Cornflakes were being eaten at least weekly by 23 of the patients (67--6%) at the time that their symptoms began, compared with 17 (25%) of the controls at the corresponding time. Only one of the 34 patients had not eaten cornflakes at all, compared with half of the controls. A significant but weaker association was found between Crohn's disease and the eating of wheat cereals. However, in both patients and controls the taking of cornflakes and of wheat cereals were correlated, and the observed preponderance of wheat eating among the patients was almost entirely ascribable to this association of habits. Eating of rice cereals and of porridge was not associated with Crohn's disease, though it was correlated with eating cornflakes. There was an excess of bran eaters among the propositi, but this, too, was attributable to their being also cornflake eaters. Other breakfast foods were taken with equal frequency, and omission of breakfast was equally common. Six of the 68 controls, but none of the patients, ate cornflakes later in the day but not at breakfast. The results need confirmation. There was no evidence that bias could have caused the correlation found. The association of Crohn's disease with the eating of cornflakes is strong and unlikely to be indirect. Variable digestive secretory behaviour after waking may play a part in determining susceptibility to Crohn's disease.