what is milk intolerance, what is cheese intolerance, and what is a cheese allergy?

There are many misconceptions about milk intolerance and milk allergies.
Here is a simplified explanation:

Food Intolerance: The difficulty to digest certain foods or components of food.

Food Allergy: When our immune system reacts after eating certain foods.

There are two types of intolerance found in dairy products and one allergy.

The Cheese Shark. Milk Intolerance and Milk allergies.
Pouring a glass of fresh goat milk from Happy Days Dairies.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is a type of sugar found in all milk. The amount of lactose depends on the type of milk. For example, goat milk contains less lactose than cow milk. Our digestive system needs an enzyme called lactase to break down lactose in milk. If a person lacks lactase, they are lactose intolerant. The most common symptom of lactose intolerance is stomach cramps after consuming milk. Lactose intolerance is very common, especially among people of Asian descent.

Dairy products that contain lactose include milk, flavoured milk, cream, ice cream, and cottage cheese. But not all dairy products contain lactose. In all fermented dairy products the lactose is converted into lactic acid. Examples of fermented milk products would be yogurt, sour cream, and cheese. Butter contains no lactose.

Histamine Intolerance

Histamine is a compound with a lot of functions. Histamine intolerance is when the body can’t break down its own Histamine or food related Histamine. Symptoms of Histamine intolerance are headaches, sinus congestion, nausea or fatigue. Histamine intolerance is very rare, only about 1% of the population is affected.

Enhanced Histamine levels are only found in aged cheeses. Aged cheeses are extra hard, hard, semi hard, and many soft cheeses. Fresh cheeses like cottage cheese, cream cheese or chevre are not aged.

Protein Allergy or Milk Allergy

Protein allergy in milk refers to one specific type of the casein protein. The Alpha-s1 casein type is the main protein found in cow’s milk. People with this allergy will show reactions to all products from cow’s milk. Symptoms in mild cases are nasal congestion, sneezing or itching. In medium cases skin rashes, and in severe cases swelling of the lips, tongue and/or throat.

The Alpha -s1 casein is not found in goat or sheep milk. People with this type of allergy can consume goat or sheep milk products without symptoms.
Protein intolerance is not common, however, goat milk and vegetable based milks have been growing in popularity due to intolerance, allergies, and the additional health benefits.

Please let me know if this article was helpful. Do you have any experiences with milk allergies or milk intolerance?


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