A diet of skimmed milk has very special value in cases where it is desired to rest the digestive organs to enable them to recover from an exhausted and irritable condition. It is useful in cases of intestinal indigestion and chronic catarrh of the small and large bowel (colitis). The diet at first is restricted to skimmed milk, which should be freshly prepared, and given in conjunction with water or mineral-water. To begin with, from 4 to 6 ounces should be given every two and a half hours, the amount being gradually increased until 10 to 12 tumblerfuls are taken daily. If desired the milk may be flavoured with weak tea or coffee, and a pinch of salt may advantageously be added. After ten to fourteen days of this regime, during which the patient is confined to bed, the diet may usually be increased by the addition of stale bread, dry toast, or a malted invalid food (p. 184). Solid food is best withheld for three to four weeks, when a little lean, raw, scraped beef may usually be added to the dietary. To begin with, patients lose weight on this regime, and they may complain of drowsiness and general weakness. The urine is increased in amount, of low specific gravity, and of a pale, slightly greenish tint. Constipation may be a feature, and is best treated by adding to the diet fruit, e.g. prunes or stewed apples, once daily in the forenoon. In some patients diarrhoea and vomiting are set up, this being remedied by reducing the amount of milk, or lengthening the interval between meals, and the addition of sodium citrate or lime-water to the milk. In favourable cases the state of the digestion of the intestinal excretions rapidly improves on this regime, enabling the patient to return in a few weeks to a light convalescent dietary.
Whey is practically an aqueous solution of milk sugar. A whey cure is advocated in some cases of chronic indigestion and abdominal plethora; it is used most largely in some health resorts, notably Ems and Reichenhall. It consists in the administration of from 20 to 40 ounces of whey daily, which is taken warm either alone or with a mineral-water. It is given in combination with a vegetarian and fruit regime. In cases of abdominal plethora, as much as 8 to 10 tumblerfuls may be given daily with a diet of fruit and vegetables. It is sometimes combined with the Grape cure (p. 538). When taken in large amounts it sometimes induces diarrhoea and colic. The value of whey is elsewhere referred to (sec Infant Feeding, p. 238, also P. 269).