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Are Milk and Cookies Making Your Kid Sick?

milk and cookies
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

"No dessert until you've finished your dinner." If that's a common saying around your house, you may want to start reconsidering the timing for doling out cookies. One doctor believes that the combination of dairy and sugar before bed can cause chronic symptoms like "running noses, coughs, sore throats, constipation and fatigue."

A pediatric otolaryngologist at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Fla., says that she began noticing a pattern in cases she was treating. After initially treating the children with medication—and finding no change—she dug deeper into the habits of the families and found that all the children would often get milk and cookies before bed. Dr. Julie Wei believed that the combination was "causing the food to back up into the stomach, esophagus and throat, causing cold-like symptoms," the Daily Mail reports.

After advising all of her patients to stop eating sugar and dairy items before bed, Wei said all the kids improved over a very short period of time.

What's more astounding is that she believes her affectionately named "milk and cookie disease" affects around 75 percent of American children. Instead of snacks and treats before bed, Wei recommends just water two hours before kids go to sleep—it should help avoid having food sit in their stomachs.

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