As one of the most prevalent allergies in children, as many as 3 percent of individuals under the age of 16 may be allergic to dairy products. While many kids grow out of dairy allergies, they can still be a problem for many adults.
Note that a true dairy allergy is not the same thing as lactose intolerance. Allergic reactions to milk and milk products can cause everything from nausea to hives and even anaphylactic shock in severe cases. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, has to do with the body’s inability to digest the sugars in dairy foods, due to the absence of the enzyme lactase.
Either way, individuals who are allergic to dairy and those who are lactose intolerant can benefit by keeping the following points in mind.
- 1 The only way to prevent an allergic reaction to dairy is to avoid it in all forms.
- 2 Whey and casein are the two types of protein found in dairy that are often used in other products as well.
- 3 Milk proteins can be found in unexpected places, such as sausage and other meats, and even canned tuna.
- 4 Many body-building and protein supplements contain whey protein.
- 5 “Non-dairy” products can still contain the dairy protein casein, which can trigger an allergic reaction.
- 6 There is no official regulatory definition of “dairy-free” products, so be careful when reading ingredient lists and labels.
- Know the names of the two milk proteins (whey and casein).
- Always check labels for milk, whey, and casein (and their derivatives).
- Understand that “non-dairy” and “dairy-free” products may have milk proteins in them.