25.5.12

What is the difference? Lactose Intolerant vs Milk Allergy

Lactose Intolerant or Milk Allergy

This post was inspired by a rant I had on Twitter. I am getting a bit tired of Companies telling me I need to buy their lactose free products. Lets just get one thing straight I have a Milk allergy, for me that includes milk from Cows, Goats and Sheep. Lactose Intolerance and Milk Allergy are two very different things.

Lactose is a sugar in milk. There is an enzyme in the digestive tract called lactase, this helps breakdown the lactose. As we age the levels of lactase decrease so people have trouble digesting lactose. This often results in bloating, diarrhea and gas. It is very uncomfortable but not life threatening. 

A milk allergy is when the immune system reacts to the proteins in milk. This means you are allergic to the whey or casein (you can be allergic to both). Allergies can be life threatening (anaphylactic shock) or you may experience hives or difficulty breathing. My milk allergy has been confirmed by Doctors through testing. I have yet to experience anaphylactic shock but I will get hives, eczema, sinus problems, glue ear, asthma, joint pain and gastric distress. FYI gastric distress is the polite term for saying you get the shits. Think of the worse case of diarrhea you have ever experienced, now times that by a million, add on top of that a pain similar to being kick in the stomach by a donkey, then you'll be pretty close to this symptom. 

I have had some weird questions over the years about my milk allergy. The strangest was at a wedding reception where hotel staff asked "Can you have cheese? We were not sure". Yes folks it happens, incidentally my reply "Last time I checked cheese was made from milk, so NO I can't eat it". Milk allergy also means no butter, buttermilk, cream, chocolate, ice cream and yoghurts. You also get the odd curve ball product where you wouldn't expect to find milk for example bread and tomato ketchup.

I was moaning about ice lollies on Twitter. Some ice lollies contain milk, Del Monte is one I can name off top of my head. 

To the folks that tell me to eat dark chocolate. Read the labels not all of them are milk free. Sometimes luxury dark chocolates may be suitable but I have a sweet tooth and miss white chocolate so that is why I moan. 

So there you go folks you have learnt something new this afternoon. FYI Lactofree is not suitable for milk allergy, they have removed the lactose but it still is cows milk.

Sarah x

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16 comments:

  1. I feel for you, I really do. I know I have recently decided to go dairy free but that was out of choice and the hope it would make my skin a little better. It's still nice to know if I REALLY want a piece of chocolate or cheesecake then I can still have it, I might get a few spots but at least it won't make me ill.
    Oh and agree with you on the Asda dairy free chocolate. Had some last night and It was awful, reminded me of the cheap easter eggs you get when you're a kid :(

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    1. Oh to be able to have Cheesecake. I know not everyone understands allergies but the constant checking labels and stupid questions at restaurants wears you down once in a while. Even after all these years it stresses me out. Choices and Moo Free are slightly better dairy free chocolates but not fantastic. Ritter Marzipan & Peppermint are a personal favourite. If you can find it there are the occasional dark chocs at Thorntons that are safe to eat. Booja Booja champagne truffles are delicious but they are a treat at £9 a box.

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  2. that puts my moaning about being a coeliac to shame. I can;t have any wheat, rye or barley ad they are in a lot of things that you would not expect, but to be allergic to Milk - gosh that must be really difficult. Moan away, I know I do xx

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    1. Aah it's tough for us all, coeliac isn't easy I see my sister struggle. Even after all these years of my allergies there are good and bad days. I long to sink my teeth into Ben & Jerrys but it will never happen makes me grumpy once in a while lol :)

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  3. It is good to have a good rant. I agree with what pamperped prince said, I have given dairy up but at least I know if I do eat it, its not going to make me ill or anything. I do feel for you. I didn't realise bread had it in, it does pop up in all sorts of things though. I am always reeading labels now. I really like the dairy free chocolate I have tried, but I like cheap chocolate which it does kind of taste like. lol. xx

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    1. Thanks honey, just needed to vent on Friday :) seriously milk is everywhere blooming drives me nuts, never mind, I've survived this long I'm sure I can continue, guess I came down from the Allergy Show high with a bump.

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  4. Oh no! I feel for you. It cuts out a lot. I would miss cheese and chocolate so much. I have a weird allergy ... garlic! No-one ever understands and it makes eating out a nightmare. I don't eat meat and there seems to be garlic in nearly every vegetarian meal! If I have a little I feel poorly, but I can cope. Sometimes it's worth it if there's only a little garlic in a pizza sauce or a curry. If I have a lot my throat swells up and my sinuses get really blocked! I also feel like I have the worst hangover the next day and my mouth gets covered in ulcers. I often feel like I need a rant too! x

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    1. Oh my I could not survive without garlic, I add it to all my cooking. That must be really tough for you and I thought milk and egg was bad enough. A number of years back I was able to tolerate the odd chocolate biscuit but that didn't last, I now get so sick if I have the smallest amount.

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  5. Thanks for the info. I am slightly lactose intolerant so I can't imagine your pain. Those lazy companies should really do some research. I hope this blog post makes them realise that you're not interested in what they're offering x

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    1. It was a grumpy day as you can tell :) fingers crossed this did the trick, get fed up with explaining myself it's not like this info is hard to find on my blog :)

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  6. Thanks for posting this! I didn't realise there was a difference between the 2! I don't think I'm allergic to dairy based on the symptoms you mentioned above. I do get a lot of bloatiness and I find it easier on my stomach if I eat small and more often rather than 3 main meals.

    In terms of dark chocolate, I've seen a few brands that don't contain dairy in the ingredient list, including a tesco brand which is 74% cocoa. Is that too dark for you? I'm lucky I like dark chocolate but I would rather have milk chocolate if I had the option :P

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    1. It's common for there to be a misunderstanding between the two so you are not alone in that. I will have to check out that chocolate, I can but try :) I often get Ritter Sport Marzipan which is dark chocolate.

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  7. Its frustrating that more people especially food providers and medical staff don't know the difference. I am lactose intolerant and know I have no tolerance at all. Little one was born with no tolerance rather than his lactase levels diminishing so he can't have any lactose. I know symptoms and tolerance levels vary greatly. Most people become a little bloated at masses of dairy but some of us get aweful symptoms at the tiniest amount. I just wish thy would do more research and more eduction on both dairy allegy and lactose intolerance. The other frustration is that a lot of people presume lactose is only in dairy, in fact there is a similar level in goats milk, sheeps milk and any other mammalian milk including breast milk!
    Thats me ranting sorry!

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    1. You rant as much as you like :) For years I was told I could have goat and sheep milk, even Doctors had told me that. I realised the hard way that I can't tolerate them.

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  8. I'm confused. No, no... don't get annoyed! You say 'milk allergy', but across the pond we say 'dairy allergy.' My kiddo can't have anything anything with dairy. Yes, I know it's milk ;) I could nurse him, but I had to give up dairy for a bit (that was challenging for me.) It makes label reading so much fun :P I can't imagine how annoyed you must get. "Can you have cheese?" hehe, oh my. At our local Whole Foods there is a nice dark chocolate selection and I just bought Zayn some rice milk chocolate (it was ok.) It's too bad that Godiva dark chocolate has milk in it. I also believe the IKEA dark chocolate is dairy-free...

    Sorry you're so annoyed! xx

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    1. I do use the term dairy allergy as well but have been asked before what that means? pah! ridiculous! do you get asked the same? I think that's why I spelled it out in this blog post haha want clarity that we are talking milk.

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