Allergy Free Info helps people with allergies and food sensitivities navigate a path to healthy living.
Navigating Allergies and Food Sensitivities

Dairy Intolerance

Dairy Allergy or Lactose Intolerance Info

Dairy Free or Lactose Free Products

Many people find that they are sensitive to dairy products, experiencing a host of symptoms including flatulence (gas), diarrhea, skin rash and fatigue when they consume milk and other dairy products.

The primary causes for these types of reactions are lactose, one of the primary sugars in cow’s milk, and
casein, one of the primary proteins in cow’s milk, which are both added to a wide variety of foods; lactose is added for flavor while casein is often added for emulsification, texture and protein supplementation.

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

Typically, reactions to the casein in dairy products are an allergic reaction,
which result in a full-fledged immune response, manifesting as specific as a skin rash, or as general as fatigue.1

A reaction to lactose is usually a food intolerance
or food sensitivity, where the lactose irritates or damages a person’s digestive system, or a person is unable to properly digest or breakdown the food.2

Lactose intolerance is the most common food intolerance in the United States, affecting as many as 30% of adult Americans.1,3,4  
In Europe, lactose intolerance is present in about
five per cent of white people and in a much larger proportion (50 to 80 per cent) in ethnic groups.4



Food Allergy.


NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

NIAID’s Food Allergy Research.


The European Food Information Council (EUFIC).

Food allergy and food intolerance.