Did you know that we are the only mammals who drink another animal’s milk?
This often translates to intolerance or allergy to one of milk’s proteins, casein. It’s believed, though, that the casein in goat of sheep’s milk, the A2 form instead of A1, causes less or no problems. Some breeds of cows also produce A2 casein, but those are not bred very much in North America, so occasionally you will hear of people who claim to have less responses from cow’s milk products raised outside of the US.
Lactose and casein are also being actively studied for other possible related problems; one study I came across entertained the possibility of links between dairy and Chron’s disease. Dairy is also high in carbs and is highly insulin-promoting, which can exacerbate problems related to weight and insulin control.
Hard cheeses, yogurt and kefir that have been fermented long enough to eat up all the sugars, so they won’t have any lactose left, and can be a good alternative for the lactose intolerant. Even without lactose, dairy will still have an insulin promoting effect, so be careful if you have insulin resistance and/or glucose intolerances.
Finally, since dairy contains a multitude of growth factors, such as IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1), undesirable problems like acne can become a problem, and some people argue that cancer cells develop much faster with the introduction of dairy.
What the experts say…
I’ll let the experts speak on this topic; below are some opinions from trusted resources that review what lactose intolerance is, what the symptoms are and how you can manage it (see my “How to go dairy free” pages).
What Exactly Is Lactose Intolerance?
Otherwise known as “milk sugar”, Lactose is the primary carbohydrate in milk products. During the digestion process, lactose is broken down into glucose and galactose for proper absorption. This step occurs in the small intestine with the assistance of an enzyme known as Lactase. Many people have or develop a shortage of lactase, and therefore are unable to properly digest some or all of the lactose they consume. The unabsorbed lactose passes into the colon where it can have a party! This lactase deficiency and any resulting gastrointestinal symptoms, are what is typically referred to as lactose intolerance.
If you are not lactose intolerant yourself, odds are you know someone who is. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), between 30 and 50 million people in the United States alone are lactose intolerant. Look around, that’s up to 1 in every 6 people you see!
What Are The Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance?
Symptoms may vary from person to person, and can range from mild, to very uncomfortable, to embarrassing, to severe. The most notable by products of lactose intolerance are:
- Abdominal Pain
- Abdominal Cramps
- Intestinal Bloating, the ever so attractive “Pot Belly”
- Flatulence, otherwise known as party stopping gas
These symptoms typically emerge about 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingesting lactose-laden foods.
Ready to shop dairy free now?
Click here to read some tips on shopping, including some suggested brands for delicious alternatives. You can enjoy a life free of those who previously-moo’d without much effort at all, so go ahead and enjoy some almond milk with your cereal, or use it as a base for ice cream. Dark chocolate cocoa (70% or greater) help satisfy that chocolate craving, and rice milk acts as a perfect complement in your steamed frothy coffees. The ideas are endless!