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Navigating Allergies and Food Sensitivities

Casein Allergies

Casein Allergy Info

Casein protein is found in dairy products such as milk, butter or cheese, but is also added to a wide variety of foods for emulsification, texture and protein supplementation. 1

Casein is often listed in a product’s list of ingredients as sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate or milk protein. Table 1 contains a list of some of the foods where casein can be found. As you will note it is found in a variety of diverse food products. Therefore, the only way to tell for sure whether it is added to a food product is to read the food label.1

Table 1 : Processed foods that may contain casein
Casein free foods

  • Bakery glazes
  • Breath mints
  • Coffee whiteners
  • Fortified cereals
  • High-protein beverage powders
  • Ice cream
  • Infant formulas
  • Nutrition bars
  • Processed meats
  • Salad dressings
  • Whipped toppings

Casein has a molecular structure that is quite similar to that of gluten. Thus, some
gluten-free diets are combined with casein-free diets and
referred to as a gluten-free, casein-free(GFCF) diet.

Casein and Autism

Some believe casein and gluten aggravate the symptoms of autism. A 2006 review of seven studies indicated that although benefits were seen in all studies from the introduction of elimination diets (e.g., casein or gluten free) in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders, none of the studies were performed in a manner to create an unbiased scientific opinion.2

Preliminary data from the first and only double-blind randomized control trial of a gluten- and casein-free diet "indicated no statistically significant findings even though several parents reported improvement in their children."3



The World’s Healthiest Foods.
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Christison GW, Ivany K (2006).
J Dev Behav Pediatr 27 (2 Suppl 2): S162–71.
"Elimination diets in autism spectrum disorders: any wheat amidst the chaff?".



Elder JH, Shankar M, Shuster J, Theriaque D, Burns S, Sherrill L (April 2006).

J Autism Dev Disord 36 (3): 413–20.

"The gluten-free, casein-free diet in autism: results of a preliminary double blind clinical trial"..