Allergic to milk?

Child & Adult Care Food Program

Child Caring Online - information about the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Allergic to milk?

In the United States, dairy products are the major source of calcium. However, up to 70 per cent of the world’s population may experience intestinal discomfort when consuming dairy products. The remaining 30 per cent has been able to adapt.

The symptoms some people experience when eating dairy products are usually due to an inadequate amount of the intestinal enzyme lactase. Lactase is necessary to digest lactose, the predominant sugar in dairy products. A deficiency of lactase can result in a condition generally termed lactose intolerance.

While some adults and children may claim they are allergic to milk, they may just not like milk. A true milk allergy involves the immune system, whereas a food intolerance involves other physiological mechanisms.

Tolerance of dairy foods may be improved by:

  • Drinking whole milk rather than skim milk. The fat in the milk slows the movement of the lactose to the large intestine, which allows more time for the lactose to be digested.

  • Drinking no more than one eight-ounce glass of milk at a time.

  • Drinking chocolate flavored milk instead of unflavored milk. Although the exact mechanism by which cocoa improves lactose intolerance is unknown, there is documented evidence that it does.

  • Using enzyme tablets to predigest the lactose in the milk.

  • Eating yogurt with active cultures.

Source: Colorado Communique , Colorado Department of Health

Updated August 8, 2017 5:01pm