Lactose Intolerant versus Dairy Allergy. What’s the difference?
Am I Lactose Intolerant?
Lactose intolerance and dairy allergy have similarities and lots of people think they are the same thing. But they are really very different. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am intolerant of most dairy products, especially soft cheese.
How did I figure it out? I researched my symptoms, and I kept a food journal for months, noting every food I ate and what symptoms I experienced. Some of my symptoms were immediate and severe (indicating an allergy), but most were delayed by an hour or up to three days. Delayed reactions can be caused by an intolerance or a sensitivity to a food.
Allergic, Intolerant or Sensitive?
Allergies are generally severe and occur within ten-to-fifteen minutes. If you need to take an antihistamine, carry an epipen or be rushed to the hospital for treatment, that’s probably allergy.
Like allergies, food sensitivities involve the immune system, but they are delayed and often do not cause as severe a reaction. They can be nebulous. For instance, after eating, you may be sleepy or unable to think.
A food intolerance shows up in the digestive system. Lactose intolerance, for example, often causes people to feel bloated, have gas, or have abdominal pain. Some people get acid reflux and pain that may feel like a heart attack. And if this happens to you, you need to take it seriously by seeing your doctor.
According to WebMD, symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
- Upset stomach
- Flatulence (usually stinky)
Other symptoms of milk allergy, sensitivity or intolerance, according to Dr. Doris Rapp, M.D., noted allergy expert and author of Is This Your Child? Discovering Unrecognized Allergies in Children and Adults (affiliate link), are:
- Nose problems
- Wheezing and asthma
- Hyperactivity and other behavioral or emotional issues
- Ear problems
- Red ears and/or face
- Pale, expressionless face
- Recurrent infection
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Joint tightness or pain
- Ulcer (duodenal)
- Gall bladder disease
- Convulsions or tics
- Kidney problems
- High blood pressure
What To Do
If these symptoms occur within a couple of hours of eating, try cutting dairy out of your diet and see how you feel. I have a hard time remembering what I ate when if I don’t write it down, so I keep a food journal and monitor how I feel.
And let me say that these same symptoms can be symptoms of other health issues, so I encourage you to talk to your doctor about them. There are tests a doctor can do to confirm your suspicions of lactose intolerance.
Read more about food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances.
When you’re lactose intolerant, you don’t make enough lactase, the enzyme that your body needs to break down sugar in milk. The sugar ends up in your intestines rather than in your bloodstream. Instead of being processed in the stomach, it ferments in the colon. The result: gas, bloating and stinky toots.
Lactose intolerance is common. You can learn to deal with it when you know what it is. If you are lactose intolerant, avoiding all milk and milk products can help prevent your symptoms. Some people take lactase enzyme supplements (pills) to prevent the symptoms whenever they eat dairy products. Again, be sure to talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.
Did you know that you crave the very things you are allergic to? It’s weird, but it’s true. Craving food that you cannot tolerate is a type of addiction. I crave bread. What do you crave?
I’ve mostly gotten past my craving for cheese, but sometimes I’d really like some. Then I remember how much pain it causes me. You see, my reaction to milk products is almost immediate. Within an hour of eating milk or cheese, I get severe joint pain. And it lasts almost a week. I don’t make that mistake very often. But took me a long time to figure that out, primarily because I had generalized inflammation caused by reactions to multiple foods.
In addition to working with my doctor, I had to keep a food journal for months to understand which food was causing which of my health symptoms.
IT AIN’T JUST THE DIET
I had a heck of a time losing weight. I tell you my story, explain exactly how to test yourself for food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, and give you the tools to do it in my new book, It Ain’t Just the Diet™ Food Journal | A Daily Guide to Finding & Managing Your Food Allergies, soon to be published.
I’m here to tell you it ain’t just the diet that is making you feel miserable and hold onto all those extra pounds. At least, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t keep weight off for love nor money. When I stopped eating the foods that caused my food sensitivities and seasonal allergies, I lost more than 40 pounds. The weight just slipped off and stayed off.
Nourish Your Body & Soul
I encourage you to care of yourself by eating satisfying, nourishing food that is good for your body and makes you feel healthy. Protect your spirit by living authentically, moving your body, and taking time to replenish and rest. I think you might also like these recipes & posts from Recipe Idea Shop:
- Gluten Free, Dairy Free White Bread
- My Best Carrot Cake (Gluten Free)
- Five Seed Crackers (Gluten Free)
- Is It Food Allergy, Sensitivity or Intolerance?
- How to Test for Food Sensitivities
- Mood Food: How Does Food Affect Your Mood?
- Why Do I Need a Food Journal
- Are You Gluten Intolerant?
- Celebrate Your Successes
SIGN UP FOR UPDATES TO GET TIPS, RECIPES & FREE GIFTS
I think you’re gonna love our recipes and healthy, happy posts. Sign up for our email updates to get free gifts, recipes, happy thoughts, and tips for identifying and avoiding foods that are sabotaging your health.
RATE, PIN & SHARE!
Please Rate our recipes and posts, and Pin and Share them on social media. Comments are welcome, too!
Affiliate Disclosure: This website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or services we write about, including Amazon. Editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Disclaimer: The author is not a health professional or nutritionist. She is offering her research and personal reflections about her health journey and is not providing any type of medical or nutritional advice. This post is for informational purposes only. It is offered as a tool for people to discover their own suspected food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Readers are highly encouraged to read, write, and reflect on the ideas presented. Consult your healthcare professional before initiating any dietary or exercise program.
This post was first published on Recipe Idea Shop April 2, 2021.