Dairy Products Allergy

Allergic Reactions to Diary Products

Diagnosing an allergy to dairy products is not always an easy task. There are a variety of symptoms that can alert someone to the fact that certain foods that they are eating do not agree with them. However, they may not show up for a few hours after ingestion, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact culprit. Feeling tired and bloated, having wind and the development of a skin rash are all indicators in dairy allergies.

Recognising a Diary Allergy

To make matters difficult in correctly diagnosing an allergy to dairy products, it is not just milk and cheese that may be responsible. Certain elements of milk such as lactose (a natural sugar found in milk) and casein (a natural protein in milk) are used in a wide variety of processed foods. Lactose is used in processed meats to add flavour (hotdogs, lunchmeats, sausages, pate). Casein can be added to processed meats to help soften it and make it easier to blend together (such as in lunchmeats and pate). It is important to determine if a suspected meat allergy is actually due to dairy products used in the preparation of the meat. Casein is also used in a wide variety of soya products to help boost the protein content. It is therefore always best to scrutinise food labels for ingredients such as lactose and casein (or caseinates) to avoid accidental ingestion.

Another hurdle in correctly diagnosing an allergy to dairy products is determining if it is the milk itself you are allergic to or contaminants in the milk that are actually the real cause of the allergic reaction. Natural contaminants are present in milk largely due to what the cow eats. A range of pesticide residues are present in all but organic cow’s milk. Hormones and antibiotics injected into the animal can also be present in cow’s milk. Another source of milk contamination lies in the actual packaging of such dairy products as butter, cream and cheese. Most plastic packaging contain a source of either DEHP (di2-ethylhexyl phthalate) or DEHA (diethylhexyl adipate), both of which are used to make plastic more pliable.

Using an elimination type approach to the diet can make pinpointing the actual allergen a lot less difficult, but it can be time consuming. Initially all dairy and dairy containing processed foods, and those with lactose and casein products in the ingredients, should be avoided. These foods can slowly be re incorporated into the diet. After each individual food is reintroduced, if the symptoms return, the allergen can be more easily identified and permanently cut out of the diet.

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Guide to Food Allergies