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ABSTRACT: Although previous studies have shown successful treatment of persistent diarrhea (PD) with the use of yogurt-based diets, some recent ones speculate the need of special formulas for the nutritional management of PD complicated cases. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that the consumption of 3 lactose-free diets, with different degrees of complexity, is associated with lower stool output and shorter duration of diarrhea when compared with the use of a yogurt-based one on the nutritional management of PD. A total of 154 male infants, aged between 1 and 30 months, with PD and with or without dehydration, were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups. Throughout the study, the patients were placed in a metabolic unit; their body weights and intakes of oral rehydration solution, water, and formula diets, in addition to outputs of stool, urine, and vomit, were measured and recorded at 24-hour intervals. Four different diets were used in this study: diet 1, yogurt-based formula; diet 2, soy-based formula; diet 3, hydrolyzed protein-based formula; and diet 4, amino acid-based formula. Throughout the study, only these formula diets were fed to the children. The data showed that children fed the yogurt-based diet (diet 1) or the amino acid-based diet (diet 4) had a significant reduction in stool output and in the duration of diarrhea. The use of an inexpensive and worldwide-available yogurt-based diet is recommended as the first choice for the nutritional management of mild to moderate PD. For the few complicated PD cases, when available, a more complex amino acid-based diet should be reserved for the nutritional management of these unresponsive and severe presentations. Soy-based or casein-based diets do not offer any specific advantage or benefits and do not seem to have a place in the management of PD.
Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.) 08/2009; 29(7):462-9. · 1.20 Impact Factor