There is a lot of misconception around lactose intolerance and dairy sensitivity, here’s the difference:
Lactose is the sugar component of milk, individuals that are lactose intolerant lack an enzyme called lactase. Lactase allows our body to break down the sugar in our digestive system. Symptoms include bloating, flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, IBS, discomfort and vomiting. Lactose free products that you see in the supermarkets are not necessarily dairy free; they have just had the enzyme lactase added to them to help individuals that lack the enzyme to digest it. You can buy lactase, (a popular brand is lacteeze) to take when you eat dairy to help to digest it without problems.
Do you find you still react to lactose free products? Well, as described above these foods are not always dairy free and you may be dairy sensitive (also known as dairy intolerant). These reactions can be digestive in nature but can no digestive symptoms at all, common symptoms are headache, sinus, mucousy/post nasal drip and skin rashes.
Milk is made up of two proteins casein and whey; many people are intolerant to one or both of these proteins. Individuals can have similar symptoms as listed above, although individuals may have different symptoms/responses that may vary in severity. Examples of other possible symptoms include excessive mucous production, post nasal drip, sinus, headache, skin rashes and mood/behaviour changes. This is not a lack of an enzyme, it is actually an immune response to the protein, and therefore the only solution is to remove all dairy products from your diet.
If you continue consuming dairy products and you are sensitive to dairy it can cause intestinal permeability, further food sensitivities to develop, nutrient deficiencies and inflammation which may drive chronic disease. Dairy sensitive individuals can become deficient in vital nutrients because their gut cannot absorb them efficiently.
|Yoghurt||Coconut or Almond yogurt|
|Milk||Almond milk, hazelnut milk, rice milk, quinoa and chia seed milk, coconut milk|
|Cream||Coconut cream and avocado|
|Cheese||Raw cashew cheese|
|Milk chocolate||Dark chocolate|
|Butter||Coconut oil/Coconut Butter|
|Ice cream||Coconut/Almond ice cream, banana ice cream|
What to avoid if sensitive to whey or casein
Dairy milk of any kind (including A2, goat milk and lactose free). Any type of dairy cream, cheese, dairy yoghurt, butter, any food that has milk solids, milk products listed as an ingredient. Be aware of dairy hidden in sauces, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, muffins etc. Remember wine is often finished off with milk products used to clarify the wine. (Some organic products don’t use milk).
At Informed Health Nutritional Wellbeing, our online Nutritionists specialise in helping people heal their digestive system and change their diet to a healthy and yummy dairy free diet, ensuring you don’t end up with any nutrient deficiencies, you will feel so much better you will wonder why you didn’t do it earlier!