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For more than a century, American and English parents have prodded their kids to drink three daily glasses of milk, but now the tide may be turning against this once seemingly essential beverage. A commentary published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics questions the value of three servings of milk daily and whether the harm outweighs the benefits when people drink reduced-fat milk instead of whole milk.[1]

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In previous posts I have discussed the progressive emergence of a subset of patients with problems induced by foods driving immune changes in their oesophagus. Eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) is a chronic inflammatory disease with isolated eosinophils in the oesophagus predominantly triggered by foods.

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is characterised by an isolated infiltration of the oesophagus with eosinophil’s without infiltration in other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms of EoE are similar to those of gastrointestinal reflux disease and include vomiting, abdominal pain, regurgitation, and dysphagia. The number of oesophageal eosinophils per high-power field (hpf) is required as part of the clinicopathologic diagnosis, which is defined as 15 or more eosinophils per hpf in a patient receiving a proton pump inhibitor.

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It is a global phenomenon – the increase in gastrointestinal inflammatory disease over the last 50 years, so fast is this occurring that genetic drift is very unlikely to be attributable as causal; but it is likely that changes in diet and lifestyle amongst the genetically susceptible act as triggering agents to induce aberrant immune responses that lead to inflammatory bowel disease and other systemic inflammatory illnesses.

In a fascinating study published in Nature on the 13th June in their letters section a group of researchers show how the inclusion of fats derived from milk, change the bacterial composition in the gastrointestinal tracts of mice promoting the development of colitis.[1]