In addition, many people with the disease notice that certain foods or types of foods seem to make their symptoms worse.
McDonald said people with Crohn's may want to try avoiding maltodextrin and see if their symptoms improve, but she and Turner both said more needs to be learned before they recommend that people with Crohn's or a susceptibility to Crohn's avoid the additive.
"It's a very interesting and provocative finding, and [it] may tell us something about the bacteria and what is happening in the intestines, but it's really too preliminary to make any recommendations," Turner said.
A group representing the artificial sweetener industry said the finding was too preliminary to prompt any changes in how artificial sweeteners are made or sold.
"This study was done on cells in petri dishes, therefore it is not possible to apply these findings to humans," the Calorie Control Council said in a statement released Monday. "Even the researcher has stated that it is too early to conclude that maltodextrin promotes disease. Further research is needed before any human nutrition recommendations can be made."
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse has more on Crohn's.
SOURCES: Christine McDonald, Ph.D., assistant staff, pathobiology department, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic; Jerrold R. Turner, M.D., Ph.D., professor and associate chair, department of pathology, University of Chicago; May 21, 2012, statement, Calorie Control Council, Atlanta; May 21, 2012, presentation, Digestive Disease Week meeting, San Diego
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