The short answer is yes. Milk does in fact contain many valuable nutrients. But, it is equally true that milk also contains other ingredients which can cause problems due to your body’s natural intolerance, ingredients like lactose and milk protein. Intolerance symptoms are highly varied and may occur immediately after consumption or hours and even days later. Two different tests enable you to find out whether – and to which – ingredients you react.
Lactose is normally broken down into its constituent parts by the enzyme lactase in the small intestine. If you have lactose intolerance, your body no longer produces lactase, or at least only small quantities. Lactose cannot be broken down properly. This results in flatulence and diarrhoea. You can find out whether you have an enzyme deficiency with a lactose intolerance test.
However, not all problems with milk are caused by lactose; sometimes it is milk protein that is the culprit. This causes an immune reaction to the protein in the milk. This response may occur immediately if you have a classic (Type I) allergy, or even days later if you have a delayed (Type III) food allergy. Such delayed reactions can occur if nutrients that cannot normally enter the bloodstream get into it due to damage to the small intestine. In this case, the immune system is activated, and inflammations occur in the body. Symptoms range from gastrointestinal problems to headaches. The ImuPro test – made available in Canada exclusively by FITLabs – examines whether such a delayed response is triggered by milk protein. It’s also important to remember, when we speak about milk, we are not always consuming in a tall frosty glass. Milk can be present in a number of forms.
Under what names does milk appear on food labels?
The presence of milk can be indicated by the following terms:
lactoglobulin, casein, lactoserum, lactalbumin, hydrolysed milk, whole milk, skimmed milk powder, condensed milk, buttermilk, yoghurt, crème fraîche, sour cream.
Which products can contain milk?
• Butter, margarine, cream, cheese
• Yoghurt and quark
• Powdered milk
• Bread and bakery products
• Chocolate, ice cream
• Ready-made meals
Can a calcium deficiency occur if you do not consume any milk products?
No. Most milk substitutes are enriched with calcium. A calcium deficiency is unlikely if you have a balanced and varied diet. For example, legumes, broccoli, leek, fennel, kale and mushrooms contain large amounts of calcium. Vitamin D is also very important for calcium intake. This can be found in fish and eggs, for example, but it is also synthesized in the human body on exposure to outdoor daylight.
What foods can I use to meet my calcium requirement?
Many grains, vegetables, fruits and fish have a high calcium content. Wholegrain bread and various types of mineral water contain calcium and help you to cover your daily calcium requirement.
• Pistachio nuts
• Hazel nuts
• Brazil nuts
• Cooked soya beans
• Sunflower seeds
• Chinese cabbage
• Black salsify
• Leaf spinach
• Dried figs
Alternatives to cow's milk
The following products may be an alternative to cow's milk
- Soya drink: As the name implies, this is made from soya beans and has a slightly sweet flavour. Soya milk goes well with muesli and is very good for baking.
- Oat drink: As the name implies, this is made from oats and is a type of grain milk which is produced from oats. Oat milk is great for baking or with muesli.
- Almond drink: Nutty-tasting almond drink is ideal with muesli and in sauces and is also very good for baking because of its nutty aroma.
- Rice drink: This type of grain milk is obtained from rice. You can consume it in case of gluten intolerance. Rice milk is highly suitable for rice pudding and for baking.
- Coconut drink: Coconut drink can be used in many ways in the kitchen. You can use it in soups and curries or in sweet desserts.