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Am I Allergic to Dairy?

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It seems like a Gluten intolerance gets a lot of attention in the news these days. Although Gluten intolerance, or what is better known as Celiac disease, can lead to serious health problems including gastrointestinal problems and other physical maladies, dairy allergy can also have serious health effects but receives far less attention. The problem with a dairy allergy is that many people have symptoms, but that may appear hours or even days after consuming a dairy product.

In addition to the problem of identifying a dairy allergy because of delayed symptoms, the other problem is that so many of our foods contain "hidden" dairy products. For example, casein is a milk phosphoprotein that is used in making "vegatarian cheeses" and supplements. Although it's not a "pure" dairy product, it can still lead to dairy sensitivity reactions. Other products containing casein include bakery glazes, breath mints, nutrition bars, processed meats, salad dressing, whipped topping, ice cream, high-protein beverage powders, and fortified cereals among other items.

Reactions to dairy can include gas, diarrhea, skin rash and fatigue. More severe side effects include hives, asthma, and anaphylaxis or suffocation from the throat closing shut. Dairy allergy is the most common allergy in the U.S., but is not to be confused with lactose intolerance. A dairy allergy occurs when the immune system accidentally interprets the proteins in a dairy product as a harmful substance to the body. As a result, the immune system sends out antibodies to fight the "harm" and this causes the allergic reaction. A lactose intolerance is an inability to digest the sugar lactose and can also result in side effects, but does not involve the immune system. To test if you have a dairy allergy, it is suggested that you first try eliminating casein-containing foods, lactose-containing foods, all pure dairy products, and any processed foods containing milk. Then introduce low-fat or skim milk back into your diet after the two weeks are over–but just 4 ounces two times a day. On the next two days, go back to your dairy-free plan and see if you notice any reactions from the days before when you were drinking milk. This should tell you if you have a reaction, although it is a slow and tedious process.

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  1. Nalliah Thayabharan says:
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    Human beings are the only only species to consume the milk of another species. There is no human requirement for milk from a cow. The majority of the world’s peoples do not come from cultures that have a history of dairy consumption. These people often have problems digesting it. And with the advent of modern mechanized dairy production, milk may not be as pure as it once was.
    Lactose(the carbohydrate found in milk) intolerance which causes a range of unpleasant abdominal symptoms, including stomach cramps, flatulence and diarrhea, is a reality for 75% of the world’s population. Even though consuming dairy is unnatural and problematic for many people the US Food Guide Pyramid recommends 2 to 3 servings. One serving is defined as 1 cup of milk, 2 slices of cheese or 3/4 cup of yogurt.
    Whole cow’s milk is a high-fat fluid, designed by nature to turn a 60 lb (30 kg) calf into a 600 lb (275 kg) cow in one year. The consumption of high-fat dairy products has also been found to cause atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke. Finland which has a death rate from heart disease that is among the highest in the world, also has one of the highest rates of dairy product consumption.
    The African Bantu woman provides an excellent example of good health. Her diet is free of milk and still provides 250–400 mg of calcium from plant sources, which is half the amount consumed by Western women. Bantu women commonly have 10 babies during their life and breast feed each of them for about ten months. But even with this huge calcium drain and relatively low calcium intake, osteoporosis is relatively unknown among these women.
    Low-fat milk and cheese products are still significantly high in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. For example, 2% milk has become much more popular than homogenized milk, yet it still derives one third of its total calories from fat. Skim milk mozzarella with approximately 15% milk-fat is considered a low-fat cheese, yet a 1-ounce slice contains 5 grams of fat, totaling 56% calories from fat! So don’t be fooled by the “skim milk” label.
    The wide range of skimmed milk products available in grocery stores reflects health concerns over high-fat dairy products. But for many people, low-fat dairy products may still be an unacceptable alternative. Low-fat dairy products linked to heightened allergies
    The high protein content of low-fat dairy products is actually more allergenic than dairy products with a high-fat content. 3 Dairy products are one of the leading causes of food allergies and food sensitivities causing allergic responses in people of all ages, especially infants and young children. It is estimated that about 7% of infants are allergic to cow’s milk protein. Infants who react to milk also have a greater likelihood of developing allergies to other foods.
    Allergies to dairy products can cause a wide range of symptoms including irritability, restlessness, hyperactivity, depression, abdominal pain, cramps or bloating, gas, diarrhea, bad breath, headaches, lack of energy, constipation, poor appetite, mal-absorption of nutrients, nasal stuffiness, runny nose sinusitis, asthma, shortness of breath, rashes, and eczema

    North America has one of the highest consumptions of dairy products, and also the highest incidence of osteoporosis – a disease of brittle bones formed through the loss of calcium. The dairy lobby has many campaigns and advertisements encouraging people to consume large quantities of dairy products to ward off this dreaded disease later in life.
    Regardless of how much calcium you take in, the amount your body can actually absorb and retain matters more.
    The high animal protein intake typical of North American diets can make it difficult to retain calcium. Digesting animal protein creates an acidic environment in the body. To neutralize the acid, the body may rob calcium from the bones. Years of this pattern can contribute in osteoporosis later in life.
    Elderly women with a high dietary ratio of animal to vegetable protein intake have more rapid neck bone loss and a greater risk of hip fracture than do those with a low ratio. This suggests that an increase in vegetable protein intake and a decrease in animal protein intake may decrease bone loss.
    Several studies have found that in comparison with animal protein, soy protein decreases calcium excretion, a result of the lower sulfur amino acid content of soy protein.
    To prevent osteoporosis it is also important to get enough Vitamin D, avoid smoking and limit coffee and alcohol. Weight-bearing exercise such as running, dancing and walking is especially helpful.