Influence of dietary advice including green vegetables, beef, and whole dairy products on recurrent upper respiratory tract infections in children: A randomized controlled trial

Ellen van der Gaag*, Ruben Brandsema, Rosan Nobbenhuis, Job van der Palen, Thalia Hummel

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Since no treatment exists for children suffering from upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) without immunological disorders, we searched for a possible tool to improve the health of these children. Aim: We evaluated whether dietary advice (based on food matrix and food synergy), including standard supportive care, can decrease the number and duration of URTIs in children with recurrent URTIs. Design and Setting: This study was a multicenter randomized controlled trial in two pediatric outpatient clinics in the Netherlands, with 118 children aged one to four years with recurrent URTIs. The dietary advice group received dietary advice plus standard supportive care, while the control group received standard supportive care alone for six months. The dietary advice consisted of green vegetables five times per week, beef three times per week, 300 mL whole milk per day, and whole dairy butter on bread every day. Portion sizes were ageappropriate. Results and Conclusion: Children in the dietary advice group had 4.8 (1.6–9.5) days per month with symptoms of an URTI in the last three months of the study, compared to 7.7 (4.0– 12.3) in the control group (p = 0.028). The total number of URTIs during the six‐month study period was 5.7 (±0.55) versus 6.8 (±0.49), respectively (p = 0.068). The use of antibiotics was significantly reduced in the dietary advice group, as well as visits to a general practitioner, thereby possibly reducing healthcare costs. The results show a reduced number of days with symptoms of a URTI following dietary advice. The number of infections was not significantly reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Article number272
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2020



  • Beef
  • Children
  • Dietary advice
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Vegetables
  • Whole dairy products

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