Exclusive Enteral Nutrition for Crohn’s Disease

Key points 

  • Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN) can help heal the gut.
  • EEN involves replacing food with medical nutrition supplement drinks.
  • EEN is usually recommended for 6-12 weeks.

This dietary resource developed by DECCAN provides general dietary information on Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN) therapy.

What is Exclusive Enteral Nutrition Therapy?

Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN) Therapy can be used in adults and children with active Crohn’s Disease to treat inflammation, improve symptoms, heal the gut and improve nutrition.

EEN involves replacing all your normal diet and fluids with specialised nutrition supplement drinks for 6-12 weeks. The recommended time on EEN therapy will be discussed with you by your treating team.

Your EEN plan shown below will help you meet all your nutritional needs by providing all the energy, protein, vitamins and minerals your body requires. You do not need to eat other foods. These drinks come in a variety of flavours.

Your EEN plan

Start date:

End date:

Reason for using EEN therapy:

Nutrition supplement (s):

Number of bottles/cartons per day:

Other fluids allowed:

Support on EEN Therapy

When you undertake EEN therapy you will have regular contact with your Dietitian, via phone, email or in person. Your Dietitian will provide you with a script and advise where you can order the nutritional drinks. It is important to talk to support people while you are on EEN therapy to discuss any concerns. This may include your family, friends, Dietitian, Gastroenterologist, General Practitioner, or IBD Nurse.

EEN Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does EEN work?

The exact mechanisms of EEN are still unknown however, it may reduce inflammation by removing foods parts that may contribute to inflammation. EEN can also give the gut a chance to heal while providing balanced nutrition.

2. What else can I eat and drink whilst on EEN?

It is recommended that you only consume the prescribed nutrition supplement drinks and water. EEN is most effective at treating inflammation when all other food and drinks are avoided.

3. Tips and strategies for following a course of EEN therapy

  • Follow your usual “meal pattern” e.g. if your largest meal is in the evening, this may be the time to consume more than 1 bottle of EEN.
  • Spreading the supplement drinks throughout the day helps to manage hunger.
  • Include a variety of flavours each day. Popular flavours include vanilla, chocolate, coffee and various fruit flavours.
  • Trial drinks at different temperatures such as chilled, with ice, frozen or warmed up.
  • Avoid being around food smells and people eating at meal times if you find this challenging whilst you are on your liquid diet.

4. I am not opening my bowels daily on EEN, what should I do?

It is common to use your bowels less frequently on EEN therapy as there is no fibre in the supplement drinks. If you feel constipated, speak to your Dietitian or Doctor about suitable osmotic laxatives.

5. I have a social event coming up where everyone is eating, and I feel like I am going to miss out.

It is important that you follow the EEN plan prescribed. If you have important social events during the time on EEN, discuss this with your IBD team.

6. How should I reintroduce foods after a course of EEN therapy?

Your Dietitian will guide you with reintroducing foods and weaning off EEN. Most people can usually reintroduce food over five days.

Find an IBD Dietitian

For individualised nutrition advice ask your IBD team about seeing an IBD dietitian or find one at: 


This resource was developed in 2022 by the DECCAN Education materials working group that included the following Accredited Practicing Dietitians: Alice Day, Jessica Fitzpatrick, Emma Halmos, Katherine Healy, Liz Purcell, Emily Hunt, Rumbidzai Mutsekwa, Nadia Shadid, Clara Newsome, Sarah Phillips, Emma Landorf. Requests and enquires about this document should be directed to [email protected] or website www.deccanibd.org. DECCAN does not take any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by the use or reliance on this information.

Developed September 2022. Date for review August 2024.