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Association of ultra-processed food intake with risk of inflammatory bowel disease: prospective cohort study

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1554 (Published 15 July 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1554

Rapid Response:

Association of ultra-processed food intake with risk of inflammatory bowel disease: prospective cohort study

Dear Editor

This research article in regards to risk of inflammatory bowel disease and ultra-processed food intake was a very informative and interesting read. I congratulate the authors on an excellent prospective cohort study.

I do however have two comments to make in regards to the article.

Firstly, I second the comment of Vinod Nookala (rapid response) in that I do not understand the choice of inclusion criteria in regards to age. Whilst the study comprises a large number of participants, the age range of 35-70 compromises the validity of the results, as many people will develop IBD before the age of 35.

Secondly, a minor point, however, I urge you to look again at the grey what this study adds box at the end of the article and consider revising “ Individual food categories (meats, dairy, starches, fruit, and vegetables) were not associated with risk of IBD, suggesting that risk might be related to the food itself rather than the way it is processed or ultra-processed”. Mere sentences above in the conclusions the authors state “As white meat, unprocessed red meat, dairy, starch, and fruit, vegetables, and legumes were not found to be associated with development of IBD, this study suggests that it might not be the food itself that confers this risk but rather the way the food is processed or ultra-processed.”

A very minor error, however potentially misleading for those readers who choose to skip to the end of an article to read the key points.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 September 2021
Chloe A Wilson
GPST1
HEIW
Cardiff