Dairy-free versus lactose-free, I never knew there was a difference, but there is. People allergic to lactose are lactose intolerant. Those allergic to the proteins in milk (casein and whey) are allergic to dairy. It is essential to understand how lactose and dairy affect the allergic person.
Lactose intolerance, also known as lactose deficiency, is very common in adults. The National Library of Medicine tells us that approximately 30 million Americans suffer from some kind of lactose intolerance by the age of 20. That is rather surprising. As a kid, the general rule was “three glasses of milk each day”. How things have changed!
Lactose is a sugar detected in milk products. When a person’s body stops producing enough of an enzyme called lactase, the person becomes lactose intolerant.
If a lactose-intolerant individual ingests a milk product, the symptoms are ungodly (bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea, and nausea.) Some people can get away with a little bit but should not push it.
Over-the-counter tablets are available to relieve or avoid symptoms. There are always lactose-free products to squash the urge for milk.
Allergy to Dairy
An allergy to dairy has a far greater effect on the victim of the allergy.
It is crucial that those with a dairy allergy avoid products with casein and whey. Mostly seen in children, the symptoms are far more severe. They include hives, wheezing and vomiting. In extreme cases symptoms even anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. Some children get lucky and grow out of a dairy allergy. That is certainly good news.
If you have a dairy allergy, it is imperative to check the food labels. Remember to avoid products with whey and casein. These can turn up in unexpected places, for example, some varieties of canned tuna and a few protein powders.
Some good brands of dairy-free cheeses are:
- Daiya Mozzarella
- Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheddar
- Teese cheddar vegan cheese
- Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
- Follow Your Heart Shredded Parmesan
- Teenut Treenut Cheeses
- Home Made Dairy-Free Queso Cheese Dip
Important: Dairy-free and nondairy are different. Products marked nondairy can contain a caseinate milk derivative. An example would be a nondairy coffee creamer.
Nowadays, consumers need not fear because there is a product for everyone out there. The merchants have ears for every consumer problem.
Important: A lactose-free product might contain other dairy products, so it is not safe for those allergic to dairy. Read food labels because some common foods contain lactose.
This list surprises me: bread, breakfast cereals, soups, margarine, deli meat, salad dressing, candy, cookies, and pancake mixes. Holy deception Batman!!!
The good news is that if a product is labeled “lactose-free”, it is actually free of lactose. This article is excellent for someone who is on a lactose-free diet. Read more.
Any product that contains whey, galactose, casein, nougat, lactulose, or rennet contains dairy. It’s also possible that dairy is lurking in labels such as “natural flavoring” or “artificial flavoring.”
Dairy is any product made from cow’s milk (and other mammals), as well as products made from milk (cream, cheese, and butter).
If any of these words are included in the ingredients, it is not safe for those with dairy allergies (caseinate, chocolate, cream, condensed milk, curds, dried milk, evaporated milk, a milk derivative, milk powder, milk solids, sodium caseinate or whey).
Are you thinking, “Are eggs okay if I am allergic to dairy?” This is a common question. The answer is that eggs are perfectly fine. If they bother you, you are allergic to eggs not to dairy.
If you are on a dairy-free diet, be mindful that you get everything that you need in terms of nutrition.
Calcium is an essential mineral for bones and teeth. Adults need around 1,000 mg of calcium each day. Children and individuals over 50 years old need slightly more.
If you eliminate dairy, you will be at risk of being calcium deficient. Fortunately, you can still get calcium from other sources. Vegetables like kale and broccoli, legumes, dried fruit, tofu, and other foods fortified with calcium are good choices. There are calcium supplements as well.
Vitamin D is extremely important for absorbing calcium. Unfortunately, most foods do not contain large amounts of vitamin D. If you need dairy-free alternatives, try fortified soymilk and almond milk. They can be just as nutritious and fortified with vitamin D as a bonus.
There is plenty of protein in milk. Men need 56 grams of protein per day and women need 46 grams, according to the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies.
It is important to get enough protein throughout the day. There are plenty of nondairy protein sources. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and several dairy-free alternative milk products. Soy milk can have up to 9 grams of protein per cup. Refer to 10 Unexpected Sources of Protein for more detailed information.
This is a good article comparing the varieties of dairy-free milk. Read article.
The following video gives 7 reasons to adopt a dairy-free diet. Watch video.
Ice cream is my favorite treat. I do not eat it often, but I am so thankful that I can when I want to. There are lactose-free and dairy-free ice cream alternatives to enjoy.