Milk Allergy and Intolerance

Both Milk allergy or lactose intolerance make individuals suffer serious reproducible adverse response to a milk or milk products.  Their clinical manifestations, however,  varies distinguishably.

Within hours after a milk or milk products is ingested,  milk allergy’s symptoms will show up.   The body viewed the ingested food as a toxic substance and therefore release anti-toxin substances(antibodies i.e. immunoglobulin E).  Some of the symptoms that may result from those interactions of antibodies and what our bodies viewed as toxic include; swelling of the face, lips, and tongue, peri-orbital(i.e.around the eyes) oedema, and sometimes but rarely anaphylactic shock.

Milk allergy is a more serious immune condition where milk and milk products must be completely avoided. Here are some of milk and milk products that must be avoided:

                Milk and Milk Products to Avoid

Avoid all forms of cows’ milk, whether fresh, skimmed, condensed, or evaporated.

Also forbidden are milk products that contain casein, whey, and nonfat milk solids.

Formulas based on soy protein, casein hydrolysate are possible alternatives.

Also forbidden are milk products such as butter, margarine, cream, ice cream, yoghurt and all cheese.

Also forbidden are milk products such as chocolate spread, toffee, lemon curd, caramels etc.

Use margarine made from pure vegetable fat and lard instead of butter or margarine made with milk.

Eat meat and all poultry animals but avoid sausages and pies unless they are milk free.

consume Eggs but avoid custard or scrambled egg.

Eat Fish but avoid the fish cooked in batter.

All ordinary cereals (e.g., oats) are allowed but manufactured breakfast cereals, however, should be view with caution as some may contain milk powder.

Finally, It is important to check the list of ingredients on the label of any manufactured foods such as bread. Ask the product seller for confirmation if you are not sure if manufacture products contain milk.

                        Lactose Intolerance

Milk or milk products does not directly cause the symptoms of lactose intolerance. The problems arose from the  carbohydrate component of the milk; also known as lactose or milk sugar. It occurs when an individual does not possess enough lactase enzymes- enzymes that help us break down the lactose.

Lactose intolerance can cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms within hours after eating lactose-containing products. The symptoms of lactose intolerance include vomiting, gas, pain, bloating, cramps, nausea, and diarrhoea etc.

There can also be chronic symptoms such as worsening of wheezing, eczema,  and pimples that are associated with lactose intolerance.

         What You Need  to Know Before cutting out Milk and  products

Like the milk allergy,  lactose intolerance’s symptoms are associated with milk or milk products.  Therefore, it may seem prudent to avoid all milk and milk products as indicated above for milk allergy. But with lactose intolerance, it’s not your immune system that is rejecting the milk like in Milk allergy. It just that, you do not possess enough lactase enzymes to digest the lactose.

Milk and milk products, however,  are the staple food of the human diet. Milk and Milk products contain essential vitamins and minerals needed for growth and developments.  In some cases, the risk of malnutrition from an elimination milk in diet can be significant. In cases such as an individual  with limited exposure to sunlight(e.g. individual that wear a veil).The risk of vitamin D deficiency may compound the effects of a low calcium intake. Another case is if the individual is already on a diet that excludes multiple foods, e.g., vegan or macrobiotic diet.

This is because milk and milk products contain important nutrients sources.

                           Some important Milk Nutrients


Cows’ milk is an important source of calcium, and avoidance of cows ‘milk and its products carries the risk of an inadequate Intake of calcium.

2.Protein and Energy

Milk and their food products are important sources of protein and energy. Avoidance of these without the provision of alternative sources of protein and energy runs the risk of an inadequate intake, and growth failure, serious malnutrition, and weight loss.

3. Iodine

Milk and dairy products are important sources of dietary iodine. Some individuals suffer from hypothyroidism because they cow milk from their diets. This is beecause of the loss of thyroxin, especially when coupled with the consumption of large amounts of soy milk.

                    Solution to Lactose Intolerance problems

Therefore, unless it is absolutely necessary to avoid milk and milk products,  find out if there are other milk solutions.Even among very lactose intolerant individuals  for example, lactose loads of less than 6g, is unlikely to trigger the symptoms, .   The 6g of lactose is equal to one-half serving of milk.

Also, lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk are also commercially available to intolerant individuals who wish to drink milk and milk-based products. For example, kefir a fermented, yoghurt-like, milk drink might be a good example of lactose-free since the fermentation process breaks down lactose in milk thereby mitigating potential problems.

If, however, you think that the symptoms you’re experiencing are related to lactose intolerance or milk allergy? You should not diagnose yourself without supervision from professionals. The role of the expert such as dietitians is to help you identify foods that are suitable and safe, as common antigens in products such as cow milk are present in a large number of commercial food, therefore the exclusion of potential antigen without expert advice may not be successful.

Also, unsupervised dietary manipulation may lead to restriction of nutrient intake, particularly of calcium and other micronutrients like magnesium. Whereas expert advice will help ensure that the resulting diet is nutritionally adequate, and to prevent potential deficiency states by recommending (in an infant) appropriate amounts of infant milk formula, and (in older children or adults) supplements of calcium, vitamins, and so on.

Another role of an expert is to advise how to avoid specific foods, particularly those contained in manufactured foods. Third, the dietitian can help makes suggestions as to how to make the diet practical and palatable and suggests recipes for use with a limited range of foods (e.g., how to make biscuits with potato flour).