News ID: 190535
Published: 0159 GMT April 09, 2017

Is milk causing diarrhea, bloating?

Is milk causing diarrhea, bloating?

Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem where the body is unable to digest lactose — a type of sugar mainly found in milk and dairy products.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance usually develop within a few hours of consuming food or drink that contains lactose, according to

They include flatulence, diarrhea, bloating, stomach cramps, stomach rumbling and feeling sick.

Research has revealed almost half of young people aged 16 to 24 said they had an ‘adverse’ reaction to milk.

Figures from the Food Standards Agency show more than a fifth of the population claim to be intolerant or allergic to cows’ milk.

But only five percent of Brits are actually diagnosed as lactose intolerant, according to the British Nutrition Foundation.

Dr. Anthony Hobson, clinical director at the Functional Gut Clinic said: “In order to be able to digest lactose, our bodies need to produce an enzyme called lactase in the small bowel.

“This cuts the lactose into smaller sugars called glucose and galactose, which can then be easily digested.

“Lactose intolerance is caused when the body does not produce enough lactase.

“The two most common things for people to cut out of their diet when they have gut symptoms are gluten and dairy.

“This can work for some but with regard to dairy products, many people could be omitting an important source of nutrition for no sound reason.

“Milk and dairy is often a trigger for Irritable Bowel Symptoms (IBS), and patients often come to us convinced that their digestive troubles are due to lactose intolerance — there is a lot of self-diagnosis taking place.

“When we then test them for the condition and it comes back negative, they are lost as to what else the problem could be.

“If you think you are intolerant to dairy you can do a simple home test — try swapping regular cows’ milk, which contains the A1 protein often associated with digestive troubles, for A2 milk which is available in supermarkets and see if you get symptoms.

“If you don’t, then it’s likely you are intolerant to the A1 protein rather than lactose in the milk. I tried this with some of my IBS patients in our IBS awareness A2 milk trial with very interesting results — most felt fine with A2.”

NHS Choices said: “The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be similar to several other conditions, so it's important to see your GP for a diagnosis before removing milk and dairy products from your diet.”

Rick Miller, registered clinical and sports dietitian and nutrition manager at The A2 Milk Company said lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks the enzyme lactase needed to break down lactose — the sugar in milk — in the gut.

“One in five Brits report issues with dairy, often blaming lactose, however only five percent of the UK population are actually diagnosed as lactose intolerant.

“Clinical research published last year shows that those who believe they are lactose intolerant could instead be intolerant to the A1 beta-casein protein found in regular cows’ milk.”

Rick said the A1 protein breaks down in the gut to form BCM-7 — a protein fragment which can cause gut inflammation.

He said 15 percent of the UK population could be struggling with the A1 protein, not the lactose.

He added, “Real cows’ milk is incredibly nutritious — a single glass contains 74 percent of our recommended daily vitamin B12 and 31 percent of our recommended daily calcium — both essential for boosting immunity, bone strength and overall health.

“Plant-based drinks such as soya, almond, oat and rice milks are not naturally rich in nutrients and have to be fortified with artificial vitamins, minerals and proteins which are often less well-absorbed than those naturally found in cows’ milk.

“If regular milk doesn’t agree with you, try drinking A2 milk instead — a real cows’ milk which contains only the much easier-to-digest A2 protein.”

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