A milk allergy is an unnatural reaction of the body, to the proteins found in cow’s milk. The diet mainly consists of food that does not contain milk or any milk product.
This type of allergy is quite common among infants and young children. It usually occurs when infants are provided with cow-milk-based formula, or through a mother’s breast milk if she consumes it. Milk consists of proteins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Casein is the primary protein in cow’s milk and accounts for about 80% of the total milk protein. The proteins in the milk, especially casein, causes an allergic reaction in some people. A person can be sensitive to either casein or whey protein, and sometimes even both.
Rapid onset and slower onset are the two major types of milk allergy reactions. The rapid type of reaction occurs immediately, within a few seconds to hours, after consuming the milk or the milk products. It is categorized by symptoms like vomiting, wheezing, hives, anaphylaxis (a sudden and severe whole body reaction), and angioedema (fluid collection in body tissues that causes swelling). The slower onset type of reaction is more common and develops symptoms over a period of hours to days, after the consumption. These symptoms include vomiting, loose stool (possibly containing blood), fussiness or irritability, and failure to gain weight and grow normally.
|Beverages||Carbonated beverages, coffee, tea, soy-substitute milk formulas, water, fruit drinks||All kinds of milk (whole, skim, low-fat, buttermilk, powdered, evaporated, condensed, hot cocoa), yogurt, eggnog, milkshakes, and malts|
|Breads||Milk-free breads (French bread, wheat, white bread, rye, corn, graham, gluten, and soy breads), graham crackers, or rice wafers||Donuts, pancakes, biscuits, muffins, waffles, zwieback, crackers, saltines, rusk, French toast made with milk|
|Cereals||Any cereal without milk or milk products||High protein cereals, prepared and precooked cereals with milk solids, and cereals that contain milk products|
|Meats, Fish, Poultry and Cheese||Beef, chicken, veal, fish, pork, turkey, lamb, and organ meats (baked, boiled, broiled, roasted or fried), tofu (prepared without milk or milk products), sausage, deli/luncheon meats, and ham||All kinds of cheese, sausage products, bologna, frankfurters, meatloaf, breaded meats, croquettes, casseroles, hamburgers (unless made without milk)|
|Vegetables||Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables without milk or milk products added, and all vegetable juices||Au gratin, buttered, creamed, escalloped vegetables, and dipped or battered vegetables|
|Soups||Bouillon, soups with broth base, plain, or with allowed foods||Bisques, chowders, creamed soups, all soups made with milk or milk products|
|Desserts||Meringue, gelatin, popsicles, cookies, fruit ice, fruit whip, angel food cake, and pie crusts made without milk or milk products||Cake, pudding, cookies, cream desserts, custard, or sherbet containing milk products, ice cream, cream pie, pastries brushed with milk, junket, and popover|
|Miscellaneous||Catsup, nuts, olives, spices, pickles, herbs, chili powder, salt, condiments, and any foods that are milk-/ cheese-/butter-free, or that do not contain powdered milk or whey||All items containing milk, whey casein, cheese, butter, caseinates, hydrolysates, lactose, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin, milk solids, or artificial butter flavor|
A milk allergy can affect the digestive system and other systems in the body such as the skin and lungs’ airways. In very rare cases, it can be life-threatening, as well. Having a milk allergy diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy eating your favorite foods. In fact, according to some people, milk substitutes like vanilla-flavored soy milk tastes better than regular cow’s milk.