The exact aetiology of Crohn's disease remains unknown. The consensus is that the disease results from a complex interaction between genes, immunity and environmental factors. Diet is attractive, in theory, as an environmental risk factor in the aetiology of the disease. The epidemiological data, often impeded by methodological issues, have failed to confirm a direct link between pre-diet illness and the development of Crohn's disease. Once diagnosed, however, nutrition has an important role in disease management. Among the nutritional issues are malnutrition, weight loss and suboptimal nutritional status; these outcomes may be present at any stage of the disease but are likely to be overt during acute illness and hospitalisation. Malnutrition has been identified in approximately 40% of hospital admissions with Crohn's disease and is associated with higher mortality, longer hospital stays and higher healthcare costs. Patients in remission may indeed be overweight and appear to be influenced by the general population trends toward overweight and obesity. Irrespective of BMI, patients are at risk of micronutrient deficiencies. Vitamin D deficiency, for example, is common in Crohn's disease and has important implications for bone health. Moreover, newer evidence suggests that vitamin D has potential anti-inflammatory effects. Dietary approaches, in the form of enteral nutrition, have previously been shown to reduce inflammation and treat the active disease. Current guidelines now recommend that corticosteroids are more effective than enteral nutrition for treating adults. Enteral nutrition has important growth and developmental benefits and continues to be a recommended therapy for children with Crohn's disease.