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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 205-212

Controversies Regarding the Role of Dairy Products in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Seymour Mishkin

Department of Medicine, McGill University and Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Received 16 August 1993; Accepted 22 November 1993

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dairy products may affect inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients who are either lactose intolerant or who are allergic to the proteins in these foods. The actual incidence of these conditions in IBD patients is not entirely clear. Whether either of these conditions results in benign symptomatic discomfort or can actually contribute to the relapse and/or clinical activity of IBD is also unclear. Physicians differ widely in the advice they give their patients; some dogmatically advise avoidance of dairy products when the diagnosis is made while others discount their possible role in the management of IBD. On the basis of the author’s and his group’s experience and review of the literature, a balanced and exploratory approach by patients, physicians and dieticians is advised.