Small Medium Large font    Dutch

Milk & Dairy products  Allergy

By Dr. Manik G. Hiranandani

(revised 12th August 2013)

In 1974 I was 16 years old, and had returned home after 5 years in a boarding school. As a child I had always disliked milk as it made me feel sick, and had over the years in boarding school, had consciously avoided milk and its products. When I returned home my mother insisted I drink 2 glasses of milk every day. I soon got my first job, to audit accounts for my uncle. Over the next couple of months, while auditing my uncle's bills and delivery invoices, I discovered a large fraud. The salesmen  placed orders for 1 dozen (12 pieces), 12 dozen (144 pieces) went out and we got paid for 1 dozen (12 pieces) ! This audit was very stressful as the people involved in the fraud were the people I was working with everyday.  I am a sensitive and kind person, and I was distressed by thinking about the effects, the disclosure of this fraud would have on their lives and families.

After 2 months at this audit, I woke up one morning with severe pain in my right hip. I thought I may have twisted it accidentally, but unfortunately over the next week the pain spread to my ankles, knees, toes, back, wrists, shoulders, and jaws. With this, I also began a fever which persisted between 103-104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees C). I was then taken to hospital, where a tentative diagnosis of Rheumatic fever was made, and I was admitted to the intensive care Unit (ICU). Over the next 5 weeks the fever rose to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, the pain increased, in spite of all the investigations, medicines, treatment and specialists who saw me. The medications caused nausea and I lost what little appetite I had. I grew steadily weaker till I could no longer walk. My weight dropped from 61 kg to 39 kg.

One night after 5 weeks in hospital, I heard the doctor telling the nurse, that I would not live for more than a few more days. I realized then, that there was nothing the hospital could do for me, and decided to take charge of my own health. The next morning, I requested my rheumatologist, to transfer me to a room as I could not sleep in the ICU with the lights on. He kindly agreed to do so & I was transferred to a room with two other patients. After 3 days in the room, I requested my rheumatologist to discharge me home as all I was doing was eating tablets & my blood was being examined every morning which I could also have done as an outpatient. He reluctantly allowed me to leave the hospital against medical advice, gave me a diagnosis of "Stills Disease" or Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis and as I left, told me that I could take aspirin to ease the pain. Over the next few weeks under his supervision I gradually increased my intake of aspirin to a total of 40 to 50 tablets a day, taken 6-8 at a time, at intervals of 3 to 4 hours and finally the fever subsided and pain became bearable.

When I returned home my mother again insisted I drink milk. I told my mother that since I didn't have long to live anyway, I would not have milk and would eat only my favourite foods. Over the next few weeks I ate my favourite foods, most of them spicy snacks, and I gradually began to recover my strength and weight. After a few months, I had  recovered some strength and weight.

I moved to Bombay to attend college and stay with another uncle. My aunt with her good intentions to help me recover, insisted I restart milk. I did under severe pressure, and within a week was back in agonizing pain and high fever in spite of over 70 aspirins a day. It took me a month to recover, and was clinching proof for me, that indeed my arthritis was the result of a milk allergy. Over the next 2 years I gradually recovered and tapered off the aspirin. As I recovered, I found a great improvement both in my physical performance and mental abilities. The extent of my improvement was so great that for the first time in my life I got the highest marks in class without putting in any extra effort. I was able to participate in athletics and put in a creditable performance.

I also concluded that in school, the low level ingestion of milk had caused me to stammer, and  be dyslexic which led to my teachers concluding that I was lazy, when my problem was actually an inability to express in writing, what I knew and could express orally! I concluded that my Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis (a disease invariably fatal within 2-3 years) had been a combined result of high stress and the milk allergy.

Over the next 20 years I stayed off milk and it's products and enjoyed good health and great clarity of mind. In 1995, I was being entertained by many friends and took a lot of milk products. Soon the joint pain & fever returned. I realized what had happened and took to my bed. Fortunately the pain and fever passed off in a month and was a warning to me that I could never risk taking milk products again!

Through my years in practice, I found many patients who had diseases in which no rational cause could be found for their illness. In 1987 I studied with Leo Schafer (known as Canada's cancer doctor), who taught me how to diagnose milk and other allergies easily and accurately through examining the iris. When I applied these techniques to my practice, I found that many patients with a variety of problems had in fact allergies to milk and other foods. When I advised them to abstain from the foods they were allergic to, they found that gradually their symptoms resolved and they recovered. They also found that when they took these products again their problems recurred. This was indeed convincing proof, that they did actually have an allergy to these foods.

Today blood tests are available in some parts of the world, to accurately diagnose milk and gluten allergies, but they are still expensive to do & are not easily available. Reliable tests for milk allergy are still not available in India. Some indirect tests like skin testing, intra dermal testing and RAST (radio allergo sorbent tests) are available but are not very accurate. They carry the risk of a large number of false positive and false negative reactions. Almost everyone who undertakes such tests receives a long list of substances to which they are allergic.

The only way to be really sure if you are allergic to a particular food is to abstain totally from that particular food and its products for at least 3 months. If the symptoms improve with this abstinence, then the diagnosis is probably correct and taking that food again should bring back the symptoms. Most intelligent people however are satisfied with the improvement in their health and do not unnecessarily inflict further suffering on themselves.

Milk allergy receives a significant mention in all recent text books of medicine, as overwhelming evidence has accumulated about the horrendous problems an allergy to milk can cause. This article is an effort to present to you some of the problems a milk allergy can cause, and whether it is a worthwhile risk for you to continue consuming milk products.

Problems caused by or associated with Milk Allergy

Allergic reactions causing liver damage has been well known for centuries and Hippocrates in his Hippocratic writings (Penguin Classic Edition, Page 136) written in the 5th century B.C. describes a case of jaundice caused by consuming beef & milk. Similarly in Ayurveda, milk and milk products are discontinued in patients with disorders which are marked by an increase in mucous and in liver disorders.

Dr. Frank Oski, the late Director of Pediatrics, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, wrote a book titled "Don't drink your milk!" This pioneering book written more than 40 years ago, described in detail, the diseases caused by taking cow's milk. These included leukaemia, ear infections, nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, skin problems, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, breast cancer, and auto immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. He also found that cow's milk caused gastrointestinal bleeding in babies leading to iron deficiency anaemia.

Allergy to cow's milk and beef gelatine is normally unsuspected and undiagnosed, and is a common cause of many health problems including stomach pain, peptic ulcers, hyper-acidity, gas, flatulence, hiatus hernia, inguinal hernia's, chronic diarrhoea, Ulcerative colitis, Type1 (childhood onset) diabetes, asthma, blocked nose, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, eczema, depression, hyperactive or aggressive behaviour, backaches, infertility, endometriosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma, Rheumatoid arthritis and nephrotic syndrome.

In my experience over the last 30 years, I have found milk allergies to be associated with a wide range of illnesses, (some of which are mentioned above) which respond well to the complete stopping of dairy products.

I have successfully treated thousands of patients with stomach problems like hyper-acidity and peptic ulcers who have not responded to repeated courses of antacids and anti-ulcer drugs, in whom I diagnosed milk allergy through their iris by telling them to stop milk and milk products. This is contrary to conventional ulcer treatment where cold milk is often prescribed as a part of the treatment. To stop the patients milk, is an effective measure if he has a milk allergy and the patient recovers promptly without needing any drugs.

This antigen antibody reaction then occurs in other parts of the body creating a diverse variety of problems. Milk proteins, contain amino acid sequences which are also present in some proteins which are present in the body. If antibodies are formed which recognize these sequences in the body's proteins then these antibodies attack the body causing a series of diseases called "auto immune diseases". This often occurs in the synovial tissue of joints attacking it and causing Rheumatoid arthritis. Such reactions, can also cause diseases like cardiomyopathy, amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, Hashimoto's disease which affects the thyroid gland causing hypothyroidism, and breast problems like fibroadenosis which may progress to breast cancer. When it affects the ovaries it can cause poly-cystic ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), in the uterus it can cause fibroids and endometriosis.

If this reaction takes place in the sinuses, it causes sinusitis. If it occurs in the lungs it may cause asthma or bronchitis. If it occurs in the brain it may cause memory loss, dyslexia, depression, attention deficit disorders (ADD), transient ischemic attacks and in late cases may even cause a paralytic stroke. Such reactions can occur in any part of the body creating a wide variety of disease syndromes.

When we stop taking the offending proteins, the cells of the body which produce these antibodies gradually stop producing these antibodies and with total abstinence from all milk products the antibody gradually disappears from the blood. If this abstinence is continued the cells which produce these antibodies may go into hibernation and stop producing these antibodies. At this stage occasional accidental exposure to small amounts of milk protein may not produce any symptoms but repeated and frequent intake will probably bring back the allergy in its full form with all its manifestations. For many people the consequences are serious enough for them not to take the risk which is akin to playing Russian Roulette!

Prognosis in patients who totally abstain from milk products

When patients with a milk allergy stop taking milk and its products, the symptoms, specially the gastro- intestinal symptoms like hyper-acidity, heartburn, flatulence and abdominal discomfort show a discernible improvement in 3-4 weeks.

A marked improvement in other problems follows in the next 2-3 months. It usually takes 18 to 24 months for all the symptoms to resolve with total abstinence from all milk products. In people who do not completely abstain from milk products this recovery process is longer. Every exposure whether intentional or accidental, minor or major, causes a recurrence of the symptoms which flares up for 3-4 weeks and then gradually resolves. Sometimes these effects can be mitigated by use of the appropriate homeopathic medicines.

Why does milk Allergy Occur?

Allergy to cow's milk is increasingly seen both in adults and children. This is largely due to the deterioration in the quality of commercially available Milk. A lot of commercially available milk is produced in factory type, dairy farms or with the addition of growth additives and hormones in the cow's feed. Commercially available food for cows usually contains antibiotics to prevent infections, hormones to start milk production early and to increase milk yield, and animal residues like fish meal and poultry waste to boost the protein intake and the yield of milk.

Widespread use of pesticides and herbicides worldwide have lead to contamination of the food chain and increasing amount of pesticides in Milk. There are large amounts of Dioxin which are derived from plastics and are carcinogenic, contaminating soil and hence the grass. The cow eats large quantities of grass and tends to concentrate pesticides and Dioxins in its body which is then secreted in the milk. If the grass contains 10 parts of pesticide per million and the cow eats 20-50 kg of grass a day over 3-4 years the concentration of pesticide in the cow's meat rises to 500-1200 parts per million which is well over the toxic limit. Some samples of cow's milk have a few hundred parts per million compared to the "acceptable if still unsafe" limit of 5 parts per million. Pesticides are a poison which the body is unable to tolerate and it creates antibodies to the milk protein in an effort to protect itself. This is a leading cause for the increase in milk allergies worldwide.

In contrast people who drink cow's milk and take milk products, taken from cows which graze naturally on grass in fields, have a much lower incidence of allergy to cow's milk. With safe inputs to the cow, the output (milk) will also be safe. If the cow's feed contains animal products, antibiotics or pesticides this reflects in contamination of it's milk with these substances.

A large multi-centric study, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 found that antibodies produced in the human system by the milk proteins are similar to the antibodies that work against the pancreatic beta cells that produce human insulin. Antibodies to milk protein attack and destroy human pancreatic beta cells as they mistake it for the casein from the cow. The study showed that type-I diabetes is significantly more common in infants fed with cow’s milk instead of mother’s milk.

In India, milk allergy is common in big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Madras & Bangalore where imported milk powder from the European community is used to provide reconstituted milk. Milk allergy in India used to affect less than 5% of the general population in 1990. In my estimation over 50% of people who live in the metropolitan cities of India now suffer from health problems caused or aggravated by milk and milk products, beef and gelatin (commonly used to make capsules). Capsules made from gelatin are used commonly to administer antibiotics and vitamins. Many vegetarians are unable to digest this animal protein, and suffer from nausea and diarrhoea because of the capsule. This side effect is wrongly ascribed as a side effect to the use of the antibiotic, and disappears when the same medication is given as a tablet!

In the same cities those people who consumed cow's milk from their local dairy continued to have a low incidence of allergy (less than 5%). With the increasing promotion of commercial fodder, enriched with animal wastes, fish meal, hormones and antibiotics as well as the use of pooled milk by various cooperative milk producing societies, the incidence of milk allergy is rising in other parts of India. The use of pooled milk from many cows and sources increases the risk of allergies as the likely hood of some of this milk being contaminated greatly increases the risk and likelyhood of allergies. Commercially available tetrapack packed milk is usually from pooled milk.

Cow's milk is touted as an ideal food for adult human beings by the dairy industry, even though about 40% of non-vegetarian Caucasian adults (a group which includes Europeans, Indians and white Americans) are allergic to some elements of cow's milk. Dr. Oski estimated that up to 50% of American children were allergic to cow's milk. Among African and Mongolian (Chinese) ethnic groups, there is a high incidence of allergy and intolerance to lactose (70-90%) and other elements of cow's milk.

Milk from European cow's tends to contain a form of casein which is more antigenic than that from Indian cows. Taking milk from hybrid cows which have been crossbred with European strains thus increases the risk of milk allergy.

Most African Americans are lactose intolerant. This intolerance to lactose usually manifests as stomach cramps, gas, flatulence and generalized abdominal discomfort. Lactase tablets are available in the US to allow digestion of lactose by lactose intolerant adults.

Among Caucasians (including Indians) the incidence of milk protein allergies is high while among the Mongolian races and African races, lactose intolerance is more common. Lactase is of no benefit when the allergy is to milk protein.

The widespread recognition of the prevalence of milk allergy, and the link between the inclusion of milk in US school meals program and the rising juvenile delinquency rate led to the withdrawal of milk from the school program and its substitution by a piece of fruit. As a result the rate of delinquency and juvenile crime in schools in the US has fallen dramatically in the last 15 years.

Milk & Ayurveda.

Traditionally pure milk has been advocated in Ayurveda for many conditions. Ayurveda also prescribes the diet for the cow and says that cows should be treated with love & respect, so the milk we get is "Sattvic" (pure). Milk is said to suppress the stomach fires and cause heaviness and sleepiness. So milk is used in Ayurveda to soothe the stomach for peptic ulcers, heartburn etc. It is also used to induce sleep and to calm down the person. It is used to induce weight gain in children & invalids especially in those people with a Kapha (watery) constitution.

Milk is known in Ayurveda to increase "Kapha" or phlegm and is thus stopped as a part of the treatment of conditions like cough, sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, colitis, diarrhoea, obesity etc. In traditional folk medicine in India it is usual to stop milk when ever a patient has any of these complaints. Current western research substantiates this belief and has found a strong association between the consumption of dairy products and ear infections, sinusitis, bronchitis, eczema and asthma.

Milk, Heart Disease & Cancer.

The expert panel of the US Department of Agriculture constituted to review advertisements for milk, concluded that whole milk consumption, was associated with an increased risk for heart disease & prostate cancer. They recommended that advertisements promoting whole milk, should indicate these health risks, as more than 16 studies had shown a conclusive link between milk consumption and these conditions.

Milk from many commercial dairies contains bovine growth hormone which is injected into the cow to increase its growth and milk production. This is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, breast and colon cancer.

Intolerance to milk can be a result of lactose (milk sugar) intolerance or an allergy to any of its other constituents. Today the commonest allergies are to milk proteins like casein, lactalbumin and lactglobulin resulting from the increasing use of pesticides on the cows' fodder and also from antibiotics added to the fodder. The cow eats large quantities of grass and tends to concentrate pesticides in its body which is then secreted in the milk. If the grass contains 10 parts of pesticide per million and the cow eats 20-50 kg of grass a day over 3-4 years the concentration of pesticide in the cow's meat rises to 500-1200 parts per million which is well over the toxic limit. Some samples of cow's milk have a few hundred parts per million compared to the "acceptable if still unsafe" limit of 5 parts per million.

Allergies to milk fat are less common. Butter and cheese are concentrated from milk and as most pesticides are fat soluble most of the free pesticide in milk is carried in the fat content. As the fat content in cows milk is about 3.5 % the preparation of butter concentrates this by 25 times and gives you up to 25 times more pesticide than drinking cows milk! This dissolved pesticide is able to be absorbed into the body relatively easily and damage the liver and immune system, greatly increasing the risk of cancer. Hence labeling of butter, cheese and ghee should carry a mandatory analysis of the pesticide, hormone and antibiotic content in each batch.

Cheese contains between 20-60% of fat and hence contains 6-20 times more pesticide than the milk from which it was prepared. Low fat cheeses are likely to contain less pesticide than high fat cheeses but more prone to cause allergic reactions because of the higher protein content.

Some people who are unable to tolerate milk are able to tolerate cheese and yogurt. This is because the milk protein is broken down by an enzyme called rennet, during the process of making cheese, into smaller pieces which are too small to be recognized by the body's immune system. Similarly they may also be able to tolerate yogurt, because the fermentation of milk by lactobacillus breaks down the milk protein & lactose into smaller segments which do not react with the antibodies. A safe recommendation is if you are allergic to milk, avoid all dairy products.

Milk increases the risk of getting Osteoporosis. Vegetarians are less likely to get osteoporosis than non vegetarians.

Milk has been advocated as a rich source of calcium. The Harvard Study on Osteoporosis. which followed up 78,000 nurses working in and around Boston over a 12 year period, published in the American Journal of Public Health 1997;87;992-7 found the lowest incidence of osteoporosis in Vegetarian Nurses who rarely drank milk. The highest incidence was found in Non-vegetarian nurses who consumed at least 3 glasses of milk or milk products daily. (200 times more common than in vegetarians).

This effectively set at rest the myth propagated by the dairy industry that drinking milk prevents osteoporosis. Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard school of Public Health, one of the authors of the study stated that milk because of its high protein content, leaches calcium from the bones leading to osteoporosis. This is because as milk protein is digested it releases large quantities of acid which removes calcium from the bones as the body attempts to buffer the acid. People with milk allergies are usually unable to absorb calcium from milk as the milk irritates the bowels interfering with its absorption.

All green vegetables are rich in calcium and taking 100 grams of any green vegetable is usually enough to satisfy the body's daily calcium requirements in all age groups. Raisins, figs, broccoli, beans, mint, coriander, parsley etc. are all good sources of calcium. In addition calcium absorption from these foods is over 50% as compared to absorption from milk which ranges from 0% in people with milk allergies to a maximum of 32%. After all the cow too gets its Calcium from grass!

In India, osteoporosis is far more prevalent among meat eating races like Punjabi's, Sindhi's and Parsis than in vegetarians like Gujuratis, Jain's and Marwari's. A lack of exercise is also a major predisposing factor for Osteoporosis. Contrary to common belief, lack of calcium in the diet is uncommon and is a very uncommon cause for osteoporosis. Calcium is the fifth most abundant element on earth and is present in adequate quantities in most foods except those which are highly processed.

Get plenty of exercise.

Studies have concluded that physical exercise is the key to building strong bones (more important than any other factor). A study published in the British Medical Journal, followed 1,400 men and women over a 15-year period, found that exercise may be the best protection against hip fractures. They concluded that "reduced intake of dietary calcium does not seem to be a risk factor for osteoporosis."

Penn State University researchers found that bone density is significantly influenced by how much exercise girls get during their teen years, when 40 to 50 percent of their skeletal mass is developed. Consistent with previous research, the Penn State study, which was published in Pediatrics (2000), the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, showed that calcium intake, which ranged from 500 to 1,500 mgm per day, has no lasting benefit on bone health.

After looking at 34 published studies in 16 countries, researchers at Yale University found that countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis. including the United States, Sweden, and Finland were those in which people consume the most meat, milk, and other animal foods. This study also showed that African Americans, who consume, on average, more than 1,000 mgm of calcium per day, are nine times more likely to experience hip fractures than are South African blacks, whose daily calcium intake is only 196 mg.

McDougall one of the authors of this study concluded that, "On a nation-by-nation basis, people who consume the most calcium have the weakest bones and the highest rates of osteoporosis. ... Only in those places where calcium and protein are eaten in relatively high quantities does a deficiency of bone calcium exist, due to an excess of animal protein." The conclusion of this study was that eating large quantities of animal protein like meats, eggs & milk products significantly increased the risk of osteoporosis. This happens because these foods release large amounts of acid which remove calcium from the bones.

(Excerpted from the brilliantly referenced guest column written by Bruce Friedrich, director of communications for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). For more information visit,, &


Daily Requirement of Calcium

The body requires only as much calcium as is lost in the urine and through the loss of cells from the skin. This is usually about 10-15 mgm per day, and can in illness, increase to a maximum of 50-60mgms/day. Osteoporosis is most often caused by lack of exercise, or by the use of corticosteroids for treatment of chronic skin conditions, asthma, auto immune diseases,  arthritis etc. It is rarely a result of a deficiency of calcium in the diet. It often results from the malabsorption of calcium due to milk or other allergies which irritate the intestines & interfere with absorption of calcium.

In areas where drinking water is hard, the hardness is usually due to dissolved calcium and magnesium salts in the water. In these areas, drinking water is enough to meet the daily requirements of calcium. For example, Municipal water in Delhi contains 300-400mgm of calcium per litre, as opposed to the daily requirement of a maximum of 50-60mgms/day. Tube well water in Delhi may contain 1200-1500 mgms/Litre. Similarly European cities like Paris and London are built on limestone (calcium carbonate) and the water, soil and food are rich in calcium. Osteoporosis. is rarely caused by a deficiency of calcium in the diet as calcium is usually abundant in the diet.

Cows Milk can make you Fat.

Milk contains hormones to promote quick growth and weight gain of the calf to enable it to survive on it's own at the earliest. A baby calf triples in weight within the first year of life so cow's milk has a high content of fat and hormones like insulin promoting growth factor (IGF). Because of this milk has been used for centuries as an invalid food to promote appetite and weight gain. It is an easily digestible, high protein food for those people who do not have a milk allergy or are not lactose intolerant. As it promotes weight gain, it predisposes to obesity, hormonal problems like diabetes, arteriosclerosis, hypertension and paralytic strokes. People with any of these conditions should avoid taking milk and other dairy products. Insulin promoting growth factor (IGF) has been implicated in many studies as a cause for breast & prostate cancer. MIlk is associated with an increase in Type1 & Type 2 diabetes.

Stopping milk & milk products can help you loose weight.

Mother's milk is the perfect food for a human baby, and the milk of a cow is the ideal food for a calf.

It is well known that feeding a baby with cow's milk from birth predisposes to problems like diarrhoea, indigestion, colic, colitis, constipation, anorexia, eczema, asthma, ear infections, tonsillitis and developmental problems. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (part of the National Institute of Health) cow's milk is the leading cause of food allergies in children.

The high fat content in cow's milk causes colic in human babies when given undiluted. The hormones present in cow's milk   can cause obesity and weight gain. This has implications in later life as new fat cells in the body are formed at only 2 periods in life; from 6-18 months and at puberty. So obese babies & obese teenagers are more likely to be obese as adults. As a result of increased fat cells, these people will struggle to loose weight and maintain this weight loss throughout their lives. Parents who push their children to consume milk products, should consider the health hazards and suffering they are inflicting on their children in later life.

This led to a strong movement worldwide, spearheaded by pediatricians, promoting breast feeding as the perfect and only food necessary for babies until they are weaned onto solid foods. This weaning usually commences at 6 months and is more or less complete by about a year. However mothers are encouraged to continue breast feeding for the psychological health of the baby for as long as the baby may deem necessary (even up to 5-6 years).

Cow's milk also contains higher quantities of salts than human milk and when given undiluted to babies can cause kidney problems. Hippocrates was one of the first western writers to discuss the association of milk consumption and disease especially with kidney stones.

The closest commercially available milk to human milk in composition is goat milk. If a mother is unable to breast feed, and is unable to procure milk from another breast feeding mother (the old concept of a wet nurse), then goat's milk is a safer substitute for the baby than cow's milk.

The new born baby's intestine is very porous allowing proteins to be absorbed intact without being broken down. This is beneficial for the baby's immunity as it is able to absorb immunoglobulins from it's mother milk and thus boost it's own immunity. This is called acquired immunity and protects the baby until it's own immune system is sufficiently developed usually by about 6 months. This absorption is the maximum at birth and gradually reduces over the next 6 months. This gives breast fed infants widespread immunity to illness, acquired from its mother and so breast fed infants rarely suffer from colds and diarrhoea. A human baby is able to digest and absorb a high proportion of nutrients from human milk.

Cow's milk does not give this same protection to bottle fed babies. When cow's milk is given to a baby, the baby absorbs the protein from the cow's milk directly into it's bloodstream. The introduction of foreign proteins into the bloodstream causes allergic reactions.

Cow's milk is usually contaminated with bacteria and has to be boiled to kill the bacteria which are present in milk in large quantities. If cow's milk is given to  baby, the milk should boiled and diluted with water in the ratio of 2:1. This process also denatures (breaks down) the protein making it easier for the baby to digest, and deactivates the immunoglobulins in cow's milk which could cause an instant, often fatal allergic reaction when given to a human baby.

When cow's milk or infant formulas are introduced into the baby's diet prior to the age of 6 months these babies are far more likely to develop an allergy to milk products in later life. If one or both parents are allergic to milk then their children will be more likely to have a milk allergy.

The pharmaceutical industry has tried to deal with this problem by introducing a range of modified cow's milk feeds & soya based feeds. Unfortunately, while these feeds are more digestible than unmodified cow's milk, they are still unable to provide a safe & perfect mix of nutrition for a growing baby. Each tin of baby food carries a mandatory warning that breast milk is the best and only food necessary for a human baby.

Substitutes for Cow's milk & dairy products.

For Dairy Free ice creams in Delhi/ Gurgaon Contact :

A sample of milk free recipes is available on my web site which explains how to make many items which usually require milk or milk products as ingredients.

Health implications of soya milk, tofu, soya bean oil & other soya Products:

Soya Milk and its Products are widely used as a substitute for Cow's milk and its Products. If you are taking these products try and get products which are grown organically (biologically) without the use of pesticides & fertilizers. Occasionally cow's milk is blended into these products, so always check the labels for all ingredients before purchasing and consuming products labeled as soya products.

The cultivation and sale of genetically modified soya bean is widespread. Its cultivation outside certain areas in the US requires large quantities of pesticides as it has not yet been suitably engineered to withstand pests in other parts of the world. Consumption of soya products made with soya bean with a high pesticide content causes health problems like liver damage, cirrhosis of the liver, thyroid, liver & breast cancers. Soya products also often cause flatulence. In India the widespread introduction of genetically modified Soya and a huge increase in the production & sale of soya bean oil in the last 3 years has led to a dramatic jump in the incidence of liver disease in North India.

Soya contains substances called phytoestrogens which have similar effects to oestrogen in the human body. It has been widely used for boosting oestrogen levels in ladies deficient in oestrogen. It can be useful in small quantities (40-50 grams of dry weight per day) in reducing menopausal symptoms like hot flushes. Soya promotes deposition of calcium, increases bone growth and reduces osteoporosis. It also increases deposition of heavy metals and pesticides in bone if they are present in your body or food which then acts as a toxic reserve in your body. Too much of soya products can cause the side effects of excess oestrogen including weight gain, mood swings. It also increases the risk of breast cancer both in men and in women. Excess consumption of Soya products may also cause feminisation in men.

Soya also contains a substance called Lecithin which helps reduce cholesterol deposition in arteries which leads to arteriosclerosis. Taking Lecithin or soya can help reverse arteriosclerosis.

Organic Soya milks like Silk soya or Provomel are safer than the more easily available soya milk's.

Safer alternatives for Soya milk are rice milk, almond milk & oat milk.

Foods which may cause an allergic reaction when eaten, drunk or applied on the skin:

These include milk, butter, cheese, ghee (clarified butter), cream, whey, curds (yogurt), kefir, smetana, cottage cheese (paneer), chocolates, milk based sweets and ice creams. Many breads, biscuits, cakes, pastry, margarine's, goat cheeses, gravies, curries, caramel, mayonnaise, canned foods, meats, sausages, sweets and sauces can contain cow's milk products or gelatine. Products derived from milk protein & skimmed milk powder, and used as ingredients in prepared foods are whey, casein, sodium caseinate, Magnesium caseinate, Calcium caseinate, Potassium caseinate, Lactalbumin & Lactglobulin.

Other products from cattle which can cause a cross allergy with milk as they also contain Lactalbumin & Lactglobulin are rennet (used to make Cheese), beef, veal, tallow (often used to fry chips and in cooking), and gelatin (used in sweets, mousses, souffles, jelly, Jell-O and capsules). Tallow is also used to make candles used in churches and can cause allergic reactions. Allergic reactions have also been recorded to poultry, fish and eels fed with milk protein!

Many medicines contain lactose or milk protein. Some homeopathic medicines are prepared with lactose as a base for the pills. Ask the homeopathic pharmacist to prepare them for you in sucrose pills or to give it to you as a liquid.

In several western countries, look out for the kosher symbol "D", "DE", or the word Dairy, as these products are made of or contain dairy and are to be avoided.

Milk is also used to clarify syrups, sherbets, wine & vinegar.  Many wines, champagnes and vinegars can be contaminated with small quantities of milk proteins. Milk protein is also used to separate cooking oils into separate components. This can be an added source of contamination.

American, and Canadian apples exported to other countries are often waxed with milk protein to help to preserve them. Avoid such apples.

Many people with a milk allergy get problems from milk products, tallow or sodium tallowate used in cosmetics, moisturizers, facial creams and soaps, (example Dove and Lux soaps which are advertised as containing cream). Tallow is animal fat usually extracted from cattle or pigs, and if extracted from cattle contains small quantities of proteins like lactglobulin. A common source of contamination with milk products are soaps from luxury hotels which business travellors often bring homefor their families thus causing avoidable contamination and suffering. Candles made from beef tallow can also sometimes cause an allergic reactions in people with a dairy allergy. Inadvertent exposure to milk protein can also occur by licking stamps or envelopes as the glue is often made from coagulated milk protein.

A young lady from New Delhi came to see me 12 years ago with pain and swelling in her joints, weakness and occasional fevers for 3 years. She had been investigated for Rheumatoid arthritis but the blood tests showed inflammation but the specific blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis were negative. I examined her and diagnosed her as having an allergy to milk. I advised her to abstain from all dairy products and over the next few months her pain, swelling and fever disappeared. Then she came to see me again with recurrence of the symptoms after some months. She stated that she had been very careful with her milk products and I believed her. On detailed questioning she said that she had stayed with a friend and had used her Dove soap. Soon after that she had a recurrence of her pain. She recalled that this had also happened on a previous occasion. She is now very careful about soap and moisturizing cream and has lived in good health for the last few years.

Many people with a cow's milk allergy can also react to the casein in other types of milk like Goat milk, Buffalo milk, Camel milk, Sheep milk, and sometimes even with Human Milk! If you have a milk allergy, it is safer for your health to stay off all milk products irrespective of their origin. If you have a milk or beef allergy, other meats like goat and lamb may be eaten.

Avoid Gelatine capsules instead take your medication as tablets, syrups or in cellulose capsules. If you are prescribed capsules tell your doctor you are allergic to gelatine and he should prescribe the medicine in one of the forms described above.

Prepared and processed foods often contain milk products and gelatine which are very widely used in breads, biscuits, cakes, pastry, chocolates, soaps, cosmetics etc. Flavour enhancers used in prepared foods and artificial flavourings may contain milk products. Avoid foods which contain these ingredients on the labelling. If you have a dairy allergy always check the ingredients of the products you are buying or eating in restaurants.

The following link gives more information on dairy based ingredients.

Given below is a list (in alphabetical order) of ingredients that contain some dairy ingredients.

  • Acidophilus Milk
  • Ammonium Caseinate
  • Butter
  • Butter Fat
  • Butter Oil
  • Butter Solids
  • Buttermilk
  • Buttermilk Powder
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Casein
  • Caseinate
  • Cheese
  • Condensed Milk
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cream
  • Curds
  • Custard
  • Delactosed Whey
  • Demineralised Whey
  • Dry Milk Powder
  • Dry Milk Solids
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Gelatin
  • Ghee
  • Goat Milk
  • Hydrolyzed Casein
  • Hydrolyzed Milk Protein
  • iron Caseinate
  • Lactalbumin
  • Lactoferrin
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Lactose
  • Lactulose
  • Magnesium Caseinate
  • Malted Milk
  • Milk Derivative
  • Natural Butter Flavor
  • Nougat
  • Potassium Caseinate
  • Rennet Casein
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Sour Milk solids
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Sweet Whey
  • Whey
  • Whey Powder
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein hydrolysate
  • Zinc Caseinate
  • Baby Formula and Baby Food, Bakery goods like muffins, scones, cookies and some breads. Though yeast breads appear safe, one of the most common dough conditioners utilized in bread is whey, a milk protein. Some loaves and rolls may contain milk, dry milk powder, cheese or buttermilk. Baking mixes (pancakes, cakes, biscuits) should also be checked for ingredients that may contain milk and other milk products.
  • Bath Products - Body and hair Cleansers & shampoo's, conditioners and lotions often contain milk products and should be avoided as they can cause eczema.
  • Beer- may contain lactose, which adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer. It can also be known sometimes as Milk Stout or Cream Stout.
  • Breath mints - A few of these do contain casein related ingredients. Candy and sweet labels should also be checked before consumption.
  • Canned Tuna Fish - A few contain hydrolyzed caseinate.
  • Caramel - It may be made from sugar and water or milk.
  • Cereal - Dry and instant cereals vary significantly in ingredients. Some types may contain milk ingredients.
  • Cheese Alternatives - Some brands of cheese alternatives (whether soy. rice, or almond based) are lactose-free, but still contain milk protein (casein) to create a more cheese-like consistency and texture.
  • Chewing Gum - Some brands do contain milk proteins.
  • Chicken Broth - Several brands use milk proteins or solids.
  • Chocolate - Milk chocolate aside, some semi-sweet and dark chocolate brands also contain milk ingredients. Chocolate drinks - Even the non milk varieties may contain a bit of dairy to make them more substantial.
  • Clothing - Some clothes are made from with eco-fabrics that are made from milk protein.
  • Coffee Whiteners/Creamers, Cookies/Crackers/Cream Liqueurs- These are some products to check ingredient labels for as well, as they often contain milk and milk products.
  • Custards and Puddings - Most of them contain milk ingredients.
  • Drugs/Medication - Lactose is sometimes used as a filler/base for prescription drugs and OTC medications (including antihistamines). Be sure to ask the pharmacist to review the ingredients of the prescription.
  • Egg Substitute - Some brands may be made from or or contain whey.
  • Fried Foods - The bread crumbs used in fried foods may contain cheese or any number of mysterious substances.
  • Granola and Nutrition Bars - May contain milk additives.
  • Gravies - Some contain milk solids for flavour and texture.
  • Hot Cocoa Mix - The best varieties are pure cocoa and sugar, but some may contain milk ingredients for a creamier drink.
  • Hot Dogs/Imitation crab meat/Imitation maple syrup - Pure maple syrup is a safer selection.
  • Instant Potatoes - Many varieties contain milk products, most notably the Au Gratin or sour cream.
  • Kosher Parve Desserts - Most parve foods are safe, but those with highly sensitive milk allergies may have a problem with the desserts in particular.
  • Latex Gloves - Some disposable latex gloves have milk protein (casein) in them.
  • Lactose Free Milk - Lactose free does not mean dairy free, these will still be loaded with milk proteins.
  • Processed meat & Sausages - Some "meat allergies" are actually dairy allergies in disguise. Lactose and milk protein (caseinate's) are fairly common in processed meats, and milk powder is sometimes used as a filler.
  • Margarine - A few contain dairy derivatives, and most are rich in hydrogenated oils.
  • Meal Replacement/Protein Powders & Beverages - Whey and dried milk powder are the two most common dairy ingredients in these drinks.
  • Potato Chips - Flavoured varieties, which may contain buttermilk, whey or cheese are to be strictly avoided.
  • Salad Dressings - Milk components or cheese may be added for flavour or thickening to any dressing or vinaigrette.
  • Sherbet - This is different from sorbet, which is typically dairy free. Sherbet almost always contains some amount of milk and/or cream.
  • Soup - Obviously the creamy varieties are of concern, but even some of the tomato and chicken based soups are not dairy free.
  • Soy "Meat" Products - Veggie hot dogs, sausages, and patties may harbor milk proteins, lactose or even cheese for flavor and texture.
  • Spice Mixes - Some contain whey powder.
  • Sugar Substitutes - Some sweeteners, such as tagatose are derived from dairy foods (lactose in this case). Also, certain forms of some sugar substitutes such as Splenda, Mints and certain brands of Stevia, contain lactose (in very small quantities) as a filler ingredient.
  • Toothpaste - Recaldent is a casein containing ingredient that is sometimes added for cavity prevention. Some Toothpastes also contain hydroxypatite (extracted from beef bones) which can cause reactions in sensitive people.
  • Wax Coating on Fruits & Vegetables- Small amounts of soy or milk protein (casein) are often added to the wax in the production process.
  • Whipped Topping - Within FDA regulations, the term " non dairy" may be utilized on some foods, such as whipped toppings and creamers, which do in fact contain casein.
  • Wine - Some wines contain milk that may trigger allergic reactions. Vegan and kosher wines are a good place to start when seeking milk free wines.

Potentially dairy ingredients:

Rarely dairy ingredients:

Dairy free food ingredients:


Milk allergy today is a serious problem which is affecting an increasing number of people all over the world.

It causes a wide range of problems which can be alleviated or cured by stopping milk products.

If you have been diagnosed with a milk allergy you need to completely abstain from all milk products to allow your health to recover.

The chapter on food allergies will help you understand how allergies work.

For more information refer to