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Lactose Free vs. Casein Free - What is the difference?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 10:52:35 AM Europe/London

Lactose-Free vs. Casein-free. What is the difference?

Milk has been associated with health over the years and it has been claimed that one can live on milk alone but what about those whose bodies have issues with milk and its constituents. Interestingly, humans are the only mammals known to continue taking milk well into their adult lives probably because they retain the ability to continue digesting milk in their adulthood. Milk is known to contain lactose, casein, calcium amongst other minerals and proteins.

Lactose intolerance

You have probably heard of the term ‘lactose intolerant’, as it is a word that is thrown around in movies. So what exactly is lactose intolerant? And is it the same thing as ‘milk allergy’ or‘dairy allergy’ or ‘casein-free diet’? Sadly enough, though these terms are commonly used interchangeably, they are very different things and sometimes knowing the difference could be important in avoiding fatal circumstances. Lactose is the sugar that is contained in milk and other dairy products. The human body produces lactase in the small intestines, which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose. When the production of lactase is interfered with either through disease or other conditions, which causes lactose intolerance.

People with lactose intolerance can take other dairy products like hard cheese or yoghurts that through the process of fermentation, the lactose level in them has been drastically reduced or even eliminated completely. Someone with lactose intolerance can do with small quantities of dairy products. Supplements could be taken that boost the lactase level that helps alleviate the intolerance to lactose.

Milk Allergy

Milk allergy, on the other hand, is something totally different. Milk contains a protein called Casein. And casein allergies are not just intolerances that are annoying and uncomfortable but if not accorded the caution deserved might bear fatal consequences. Someone with casein-allergy, when they take any product containing casein, their bodies reacts by sending antibodies to the fight the perceived intruder, in this case, the casein-containing element, and the body equally releases histamine that is responsible for the swelling and other fatal allergic reactions. People with milk allergy should take all precautions including walking around with an epi-pen, just in case one is exposed to milk unexpectedly.

Casein-free diets

A casein-free diet is a diet regime that evades all dairy products. There are those who, under doctor 's orders, are required to avoid milk products because of other conditions and this type of people do not require epi pens like those who are actually allergic to milk products. This kind of diet requires the strict reading of labels to ensure that no milk products are present in the item being purchased. Normally vegan foods are good for those on a casein-free diet as vegans avoid all animal products including milk and honey. Milk is fronted as being the key source of protein, but there are other sources of proteins available like kales, spinach, fortified cereals and fruit juices, etc. so calcium could still be obtained from such sources. Supplements provide good nutritional value to those that are not able to obtain those nutrients through the conventional way i.e. from animals.


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Posted Thursday, June 4, 2015 1:06:31 PM Europe/London

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