14 foods you think are dairy-free but aren’t

14 foods you think are dairy-free but aren’t

14 foods you think are dairy-free but aren’t

Pouring milk into glass on tableAquarius Studio/Shutterstock

Real reasons to give up milk

More and more people are switching to plant-based milks such as soy or almond milk because they have a food allergy, milk intolerance or generally lead a plant-based lifestyle. (Milk is one of the most common food allergies in children, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.)

A true milk allergy, the body’s reaction to a protein in cow’s milk, can be life-threatening in some cases. Others are lactose intolerant, meaning your body lacks an enzyme that helps you digest dairy products; this causes stomach upset and can lead to diarrhea. Still others avoid dairy products for health reasons or because they want to avoid all animal products.

As a result, people need to—or choose—to avoid dairy for a variety of reasons, says Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist at NYU School of Medicine and Allergy & Asthma Network in New York City.

a jug of milk on wooden tableimages72/Shutterstock

How milk hides

Whatever your reason for avoiding dairy, it’s not always as simple as avoiding milk and cheese. Many dairy ingredients find their way into foods you would never expect them to find, such as: B. Non-dairy cream (really).

“Reading labels is so important because these elements can be found in foods that you wouldn’t suspect,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN and creator of the website and blog BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read it before you eat it: from label to table. In addition to searching the ingredient lists for each type of milk, cheese, or butter, she says, you should also look out for casein (a milk protein that can cause allergic reactions), caseinate, lactate, lactic acid, lactalbumin, and lactylate.

Ingredients are listed by weight, so the higher they appear on the ingredients list, the more of them a product contains (important for people who can tolerate small amounts of dairy). Read on for some surprising dairy scavengers and learn more about deciphering food labels.

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