A Single-Food Milk Elimination Diet Is Effective for Treatment of Eosinophilic Esophagitis in Children

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Aug;20(8):1748-1756.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2021.03.049. Epub 2021 Apr 3.


Background & aims: Cow's milk protein (CMP) is the most common trigger of inflammation in children and adults with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). We sought to assess the clinical, endoscopic, and histologic efficacy of dietary elimination of all CMP-containing foods in EoE.

Methods: We performed a prospective observational study in children with EoE treated with the 1-food elimination diet (1FED), excluding all CMP. Children and their caretakers were educated by a registered dietitian regarding dietary elimination of all CMP-containing foods, with substitutions to meet nutritional needs for optimal growth and development, and daily meal planning. Upper endoscopy with biopsies was performed after 8 to 12 weeks of treatment. The primary end point was histologic remission, defined as fewer than 15 eosinophils per high-power field. Secondary end points were symptomatic, endoscopic, and quality-of-life (QOL) improvements.

Results: Forty-one children (76% male; ages, 9 ± 4 years; 88% white) underwent 1FED education and post-treatment endoscopy with biopsies. Histologic remission occurred in 21 (51%) children, with a decrease in peak eosinophils per high-power field from a median of 50 (interquartile range, 35-70) to a median of 1 (interquartile range, 0-6; P < .0001). Endoscopic abnormalities improved in 24 (59%) patients, while symptoms improved in 25 (61%). Improved symptoms included chest pain, dysphagia, and pocketing/spitting out food. Parents perceived worse QOL, while children perceived improved QOL with the 1FED.

Conclusions: One-food elimination of CMP-containing foods from the diet induced histologic remission in more than 50% of children with EoE and led to significant improvement in symptoms and endoscopic abnormalities. The ease of implementation and adherence supports the 1FED as first-line dietary treatment.

Keywords: Antigen; Children; Dairy; Dietary; EoE; Response; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Diet
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis* / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life


  • Allergens