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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Milk Fat Intolerance?

Yesterday I answered the question of whether butter has lactose. Answer: not very much.

Today I'm going to look into the logical consequence, sparked by a question emailed to me.

Over the years I have not been able to get a good answer as to why I must avoid butter or subject myself to having to tolerate abdominal bloating, etc.

That's a good question. If somebody is bothered by butter and it's not the lactose, then what it is?

Assuming there is a direct connection, then the only other component to butter is the milk fat. Butter is probably 80% milk fat and 1% lactose. That would make the fat a logical culprit.

Is there such a thing as milk fat intolerance?

I don't know. The research on the subject is practically non-existent. And contradictory.

My searches have come up with a grand total of two studies in the medical literature.

The first was "Do Lipids Play a Role in Milk Intolerance?" J. P. Costet, et al., pp. 156-61 in Milk Intolerances and Rejections, J. Delmont, ed. Basel: Karger, 1983. In this limited study the authors did find that 9% of their test subjects could not tolerate milk fats. From this they concluded that the "role of lipids in milk rejection this appears moderate and of little importance."

The second study is from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1997 Sep;51(9):633-6, "Milk fat does not affect the symptoms of lactose intolerance," Vesa TH, Lember M, Korpela R.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the role of the fat content of milk on symptoms of lactose intolerance. DESIGN: Subjects recorded intolerance symptoms using a visual analogue scale (VAS) following ingestion of three test milks for varying fat content for a two-day period. SUBJECTS/SETTING: The subjects were thirty adult volunteers, patients of two Estonian out-patient clinics with diagnosed lactose intolerance. The study milks were drunk at home or at work. All thirty subjects completed the study protocol. INTERVENTION: Each subject drank, in random order, fat-free milk (4.9% lactose), high-fat milk (8% fat, 4.9% lactose), and a lactose-free and fat-free control milk. They drank 200 ml of the milk twice a day for two days, one milk type per session, with five days between sessions. The subjects noted their gastrointestinal symptoms during the test periods and during a 5 d milk-free period at the beginning of the study. The occurrence and severity of symptoms were compared. A global measure of the severity of symptoms was defined by computing the sum of the symptoms scores. RESULTS: The sum of symptoms was higher during all milk periods than during the milk-free period (P < 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences in the occurrence or severity of symptoms during the fat-free milk period compared with the high-fat milk period. CONCLUSIONS: Even a marked difference in the fat content of milk did not affect the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Consequently, there seems to be no case for recommending full-fat milk products in the treatment of lactose intolerance.

This is again an extremely limited study, both in number and duration. Nor is it obvious that a fatty milk would produce the same results as butter.

Fats in general don't tend to produce gas in the intestines. Carbohydrates - sugars, starches, fibers - are the main gas producers. That makes it hard to blame the fat in butter just as fat.

If we're back to using logic - a slippery course whenever food is concerned - we're not left with many answers. Here are the possibilities.

1. My questioner is wrong about butter being the problem.

2. Milk fat intolerance is real but not properly identified as a problem.

It would be convenient to jump to the conclusion that the medical community has fallen down on this. On the other hand, I also just heard from somebody who wrote me that her LI symptoms went away when she changed toothpaste. That's why I never trust anecdotal information. Anecdotes make my head hurt.

Hey, Bill Gates. Have I got a study for you to fund.

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53 comments:

Amélie said...

This was a very interesting two-part post. I have lactose intolerance and I also get sick if I eat too much butter (in certain pastries, for example). I had always assumed it was from lactose in butter, but it seems there is something else going on here!

Tyson said...

Hi,

I've been assuming for the last year or so that I'm lactose intolerant. (I avoided all milk-based foods for a month and my symptoms disappeared -- therefore I have lactose intolerance, right?)

Well... now I'm thinking maybe there is a flaw in this logic. This evening at the movies I had about 3 pieces of buttered popcorn. I hadn't consumed any other milk products all day. But, by the time I got home, I had awful abdominal pain -- bloating, gas, burping, nausea, and... a runny nose. All the symptoms started subsiding at about the same rate. And, putting the pieces together, I've noticed that I have a much higher sensitivity to cream -- ice cream, whipped cream, sour cream, butter -- than I do to non-cream-based milk products. The symptoms I get are very similar to lactose intolerance -- gas, bloating, abdominal pain -- but they seem to be triggered by foods that are high in cream or butter not lactose. The fattier the cream, the worse it affects me. Butter is supposed to have almost no lactose in it, but the slightest amount of butter kills me. Whipped cream is a close second. Ice cream is third. This isn't a trend that jives well with lactose intolerance. I seem to be intolerant to milk fat, not milk sugar.

Is there such a thing? Milk fat intolerance?

Thanks so much!

Best regards,
RT

E-ex said...

Hi Tyson... wow... I have the same reaction to cream-based milk products. I couldn't say that I am lactose intolerant because I can drink fresh milk without having the gas, bloating and abdominal pains. I also thought that it must be something to do with saturated milk fat or something.

Anonymous said...

Hi
I have had a fat intolerence since I was born. When put on to normal cows milk as a child I developed a red rash, quite severe stomach cramps and would vomit from 4 to 10times over approx a 4 - 6 hour period. I could not eat fatty meat, butter, cream, full cream milk or any greasy foods with fat. In the 1960's my mother always had me to the doctor and was told by our GP that I had an intolerance to fat. We lived next door to a dairy, so the farmer kept 100% skim milk for me. I could drink skim milk and also sunshine full cream powdered milk (not sure why the powdered milk did not have any affect - maybe something to do with the processing??) without becoming sick. However, if I went to someone elses house and ate a piece of cake or pie made with cream or full cream milk in it - I would have stomach pain that would make me curl up in a ball and cry for up to 4 to 6 hours and I would be extremely nauseous with severe vomiting for hours (I would often bring up green bile). Now that I am older, if I have a fatty meal with butter, dressing, fatty meat, fried chips or cream etc, I feel bloated and unwell, will have some stomach cramps & initially have diahorrea and if I eat one or two more meals in the same week with a fat content, I become very constipated and feel nauseous. I have been tested for lactose intolerence which was negative and I also tested negative for coeliac disease. My grandfather also had fat intolerence and I have a couple of cousins who also have it. I think there is a possibility that it could be hereditory - maybe even second generational, as that seems to be what has occured in my family. I would like to find out what causes this - just in case I have grandchildren who are born with this problem. My calcium levels are always low and I have also been diagnosed with insulin intolerance. I am not overweight and have always had low blood pressure 90/60 was normal for me.
Hope this may help show that fat intolerance does exist.

Tyson said...

Wow, Anonymous, that sounds awful. It also sounds more like an allergy than an intolerance. Your symptoms are far worse than anything I've ever experienced as a result of consuming milk fat. My symptoms are typically the same as those experienced by lactose-intolerant individuals, but seem to be brought on by milk fat or some other component of milk that is prevalent in cream and butter and cheese moreso than in low-fat milk products.

Anonymous said...

I believe my one year old daughter has a milk fat intolerance. She was fine with formula that contains non fat milk but as soon as i tried to switch her to whole fat cow's milk as recommended she developed a severe diaper rash with blisters that would pop and cause her a lot of pain. She also had vomiting, diarrhea and gas. She developed the same symptoms at 6 months when I fed her "baby" yogurt and at 9 months when I switched to a different, richer formula for older babies. She can eat non fat yogurt and low fat cheese with little to no problems. She has her 1 year appt today and I don't want to tell her doctor that she suffers from something that doesn't exist. My sister says her son has the same issue with milk fat.

Tyson said...

Sorry to hear about your daughter's health problems. With regard to your doctor, I would describe the symptoms in great detail and suggest why you think it might be milk fat intolerance vs. lactose intolerance -- but let the doctor make the final diagnosis. Now, whether you believe the doctor's diagnosis or not is up to you, but it's necessary to respect the doctor's role in the care of your daughter. As long as you go in with an inquisitive attitude, confident, and bearing ample evidence, you should be able to maximize your outcome -- and get the doctor's best advice. You just can't tell the doctor what the right diagnosis is. But, you can ask or even indicate your opinion -- "She seems to react to milk products that are high in milk fat, while she can tolerate things that are high in lactose, as long as they're not high in milk fat." Leave it up to the doctor to tell you what he thinks it means. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

i was diagnosed when i was a baby as lactose intolerance that when i ever drink cows milk i vomit and diaper rash colic but i used to be able to eat cheese which is strange
then since i was 19 till now im 30 when i eat cheese cream soup cakes any fatty food i have severe abdominal pain gases runny nose and the worst of all face rash which looks like mosqito bites on the chin and chicks mainly which goes only when i stop all fatty food including light mayonaise and the GP here is horrible im really very confused i eat yoghurt ok
i used to eat cream cramel which is eegs milk and sugar with slight abdominal pain but never the face problem
i really don't know what to eat when i avoid milk products i eat mayonaise my face and runny nose goes really bad
i really want some help

Anonymous said...

My son would have terrible stomach pains and we would constantly take him to the Doctors. At first the Doctor thought he was bluffing but eventually she had me keep a food diary especial 24hrs before and after the pains.... EVERYTIME he had the pains and gas he had ate something high in milk fat that was the only common ingridient in any thing he ate. So we watch the milk fat in all of his foods. And lactose free products did not make a difference or milk free. It was any dairy with high fat count

Tyson said...

Thanks, this is exactly what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

i dont digest milkfat. It causes horrible pain = first it feels like a rock in my stomach, then it turns into the sensation of being repeatedly stabbed in the stomach with needles for 1-3 hours. no pain killers will take help if i cant get them into my system before the pain (what happens if i take pain killers after the pain is: 1-3 hours later...after the stabbing pain has stopped, the pain killers suddenly kick in). Its as if i stop digesting.

When i was younger i could handle 1% milk...but too much caused sever constipation (i was in the hospital a few times when i was younger because of it).

When i turned 15 i suddenly couldn't handle ANY milkfat...but can have as much fat free cheese, milk, icecream, yogurht as i want.

But here's the kicker...its only cow's milk and only in america. when i was 25 i went to Croatia and the Balkan countries and discovered i can eat whatever i want there. (granted to say the day i discovered i can eat this fat, i proceeded to litterally eat nothing but icecream for 3 days :)

When i came home i started expierimenting with other dairy, and i can eat as much sheep and goat's milk cheese as i want with no problem (and put on 15lbs cause of it) Ive been able to eat small amts of real buffalo mozzarella as well (but havent tried large quanities for fear of the pain. its debilitating) :)

I believe this milk fat intolerance/allergy has to be due to some hormone or chemical we feed our cows. Ive talked to nutritionists and many of these hormones/chemicals are fat souluble. and we dont feed sheeps and goats the same things.
Also, in europe, many of these hormones/chemicals are banned. Granted i was not eating processed/store bought milk or cheese iin europe (the icecram probably was, i dont know...i got all my milk and cheese in the farmer's markets).

Ive only met 2 people who have the same problem with cows milk. My best friend also started having similar symptoms (but to a much milder degree) when she was in her early 20's.

I would love to hear about more research on this subject and find out why i dont digest milk fat but have no problem with lactose.

systemBuilder said...

My dad, born in Toronto in 1928, had milk fat intolerance. I did not know his symptoms but he was so sensitive we had to drink powdered milk - bottled skim milk still had trace amounts of milkfat, but powdered milk was much more pure. In the time period when we was born, in Toronto, so many babies were born with milkfat intolerance, that it was standard practice to start all babies in Toronto with skim milk formula. Needless to say, I bet they didn't thrive very well on this ...

Anonymous said...

I had thoight I was lactose intolerant, but when I use Lactaid, my symptoms occure just by using that product. I then concluded I was probably intolerant or maybe allergic to either the fat of proiein in milk.
When I was in Dallas Texas, I bought a product in Sprouts that treated all three 'intolerances'. I took a pill 20 minutes before the meal, then sat down to a lasagna dinner with absolutely no symptoms. It was like a little bit of heaven in pill form. However, I don't have the pills anymore and I can't find them on the internet. Does anyone know the name of these pills? The Sprouts online page is totally useless.

Anonymous said...

I have found I can drink 1% milk but if I drink 2% I get cramps like I am going into labor.
There are so many different types of fats.
I wonder what kind of fat it is so I can avoid that particular type in everything.

k.t. said...

Milk fats like cream,cheese, butter or anything like cakkes with butter in receipe affect me the next day. I get a weird sensation in my head, like pressure but not headache. I feel awful, and it can last for several days. Blue cheese or clotted cream will give me a severe migraine. So I avoid those, but occasionally risk a full-fat milk latte, and the next day suffer for it. I was not brerastfed as a child..wonder if that's significant? Havent been able to digest fatty foods like sausages or fried eggs either; makes me bikllious. This has nothing to do with milk fat though.

Anonymous said...

@k.t...

This is by far the closest set of symptoms to what I've been having. Do you have any allergies or peculiar health issues? My doctor said inability to digest fat might be a gall bladder issue, but all my bloodwork came back "normal"... which I believe is code for "tolerable".

I have hay fever, cat allergy, G6PD deficiency, and I'm naturally an anxious person without meditation. I've been taking probiotics, but they don't seem to make a big difference. This first started happening (inability to digest fatty foods) when I was extremely stressed out at work. Could it just be a type of IBS? I think that's the blanket term they're using these days.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am 21 year old female and since I was about 18 years old, I vomit every time I eat food with full cream in it (eg. tirimasu, cake with full cream, etc). I have never had a problem with milk or any other milk products - this only happens whenever I eat cream and nothing else. I am glad that this milk fat intolerance study exists and will be checking in to watch your progress!

Anonymous said...

I have a 100% confirmed dairy fat allergy. I was give cow's milk too early as an infant. Why does this matter? During the pasteurization process, the fat cells are broken down and are so tiny that they may enter an infants mucous glands. I now live with this allergy that gets worse with age. When I was young, if I ate anything dairy with a high fat content, I had eczema over 50% of my body. As a young adolescent and teenager I tried to ignore the symptoms, or they truely started to get better. Now as an adult the full scope of my reaction that occurs within 24 hours of eating dairy fat include, sore throat, plugged and/or runny nose, body aches, fever, chills, and a terrible case of eczema on my feet that actually causes the whole pad of my foot to peel off. Essentially because the fat attacks my mucous system, my body feels like I have a terrible flu (plus itchy, burning feet). The eczema can ve easily dealt with the usual creams, however I have never found anything for the other symptoms, which can last for up to 5 days depending on the amount of fat consumed. Of course things like skim milk do not bother me, whereas a 2 scoop ice cream cone would have me sick for almost a week. My mom actually discovered my allergy through a magazine article back in the late 80's.

Anonymous said...

Hi...I'm 66 and have had a milk fat intolerance for as long as I can remember, only I didn't realize that's what it was until reading an article in Prevention mag when about 30 years old. The article mentioned an itchiness way down deep inside the ears as being a symptom of sensitivity to milk fat. That's it!..I thought. My ears would get SO itchy way inside my head that I just felt like ripping them off to get some relief. So, I tried avoiding milk fat and the problem went away. Everytime that I do try some ice cream or cheese or whipped cream the problem returns. The itchy ears are not the only symptom, just the worst one. When I have milk fat in any form, my mouth gets a very unpleasant sticky sort of feeling about it. Well, all this got me to thinking...My mother had never liked milk but adored ice cream. My youngest son, when I tried to wean him off the breast onto 1% milk, did the projectile vomiting thing. So, I tried him on powdered skim milk mixed with previously boiled water and he was just fine. When he was older, and seemingly able to tolerate 1% milk, he had problems with his ears. Also, we found that after having ice cream (especially vanilla flavour) he would be right off to the washroom with diarhea. My sister's daughter could only manage 1-2 oz. of formula (don't know the ingredients in it) at a time...but when she had her first taste of ice cream, she went absolutely wild over it which put me in mind of our mother's reaction to ice cream. And now my grandchildren have displayed symptoms which also seem to be related to milk fat...ear problems being the most notable. When I suggested to their repective moms to use skim or 1% instead of full fat milk, their symptoms subsided.

When I think back over the years, my own symptoms have been constipation, gas, and bloating, along with the ear problem and unpleasant feeling in the mouth.

I say...an emphatic YES...there is such a thing as milk fat intolerance!

Anonymous said...

CCK is an enzyme produced by your body (gall bladder I believe) when you consume high amounts of fat (and possibly related to panic attacks). This affects the nausea centre in the brain, which makes you feel nauseous some time after eating high fat content.

holly in ontario said...

So glad and sorry to hear I'm not the only one. If I consume even the minutest amount of butterfat I will have terrible symptoms for days. It's almost as if it prevents me from digestion. Nausea, vomiting, awful abdominal pain, bloating, terrible sulphur gas. I eat to quell the nausea and then throw up the food hours later or the next day quite undigested. The taste of the gas is torturous. I went 33 years without this problem. It came on all of a sudden 6 years ago. No idea why. Any help to figure this out would be dearly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this post is now quite old but wanted to contribute since there's nothing online about milk fat intolerance. For years (probably since my teens) I've been eating a reduced amount of foods with heavy cream like cream-based sauces, creme brûlée or ice cream. I get digestive symptoms similar to those described for lactose intolerance. Without really thinking about it, I began associating these foods with feeling ill and avoiding them. Lately it's getting worse and even a few bites causes trouble (I'm now 28). My dad seems to have the same thing. I even notice the difference between a skim milk vs whole milk latte. Also, I don't think it's some additive because home made ice cream causes trouble while very processed store bought ice cream is less of a problem. Thanks for this post!

Jenny Crum said...

I would be interested in knowing the findings of any study that might be in the works.

I have had issues with milk fat since my early 20's. Generally after consuming anything with a high percentage of milk fat (actual products like cheese, butter, cream, etc or products that contain these ingredients), I will feel as though there is a solid mass in my stomach, and this later progresses to severe vomiting. Oddly, I have also noticed that I can actually TASTE when I am eating something that my body will reject. For example, if a mistake is made a coffee shop, and the barista gives me a regular cappuccino instead of skim, it tastes as though I am drinking spoiled milk. Same goes for baked goods with butter in them.......they taste rancid. This only happens when I consume cow's milk fat. I can eat cheese made form goat's or sheep's milk with absolutely no problem. I'm glad to know that there are others with the same issue, and that I am not crazy!

ponkiya said...

I do endorse that Milk fat can cause major malfunction in the stomach. I am highly allergic to milk fat. As long as I drink milk made from milk powder, I play fine but if I drink real milk containing fat than I my stomach gets upset and I get severe cold.

Grannianni said...

I have never been able to eat any sort of cheese since I was a child and always hated milk. Both made me vomit, and as an adult gave me severe diarrhoea. Now I react the same to heavy cream, cream based products, and especially clotted cream. Last weekend we went to tea with friends and I had a scone with jam and half a teaspoon of clotted cream, thinking it wasn't enough to make a difference. Within a couple of hours I had severe tummy cramps, followed by severe diarrhoea. Yet I can eat butter and ice cream, no problem! I drink my coffee black, and only have a tiny days of skimmed milk in tea, and generally avoid dairy. I am now in my 60s and the intolerance to thick or clotted cream and cheese is definitely worse.

Anonymous said...

as a kid i never liked milk, but did like buttermilk (i grew up in the Netherlands where buttermilk typically only has about 1% fat).

When I grew up I started drinking milk without trouble, (but only 2% milk) and in my late 20s I started noticing that milk fat would make me nauseous after I threw up once, after having had a particularly rich dish with cream.

Today I have been sick all day due to a cappuccino and I have decided to start drinking black coffee. whipped cream makes me very nauseous. But I am ok with skim milk though, full fat yoghurt is fine, cheese is fine, butter is fine too, as is ice cream.

Isn't that weird?

Unknown said...

Yes. Btw, I just found out I've had candida yeast overgrowth since my butter and cream intolerance began. They may be related. Don't know yet.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to figure out why whenever I eat some dairy products I smell cheese in my nose even when I haven't eaten cheese. I thought lactose and casein but it seems to be the worst when I have butter! Which until I found this post made no sense at all. I have multiple food sensitivities that I'm trying to get to the bottom of while breastfeeding an infant with non-overlapping food sensitivities and have been on a strict elimination diet for nearly a year and have been healthier than ever (especially when I stopped eating apples - fructose). I cut dairy out entirely for many months for the first time in my life and when i started reintroducing it in small amounts I first noticed the smell. To the best of my knowledge so fat I have trouble with gluten, fructose, fructans and now cows milk fat. Whee! Thank god for the Internet, I know my doctor's no help. The best they could come up with was Accutane (no help at all!)

Unknown said...

Sadly most doctors, especially PCPs are no help at all. I've recently been very fortunate to find an excellent GI doctor who has me on the path to recovery. I found her by going to the Metametrix (poop lab) website, then requesting the names of local doctors who use their services. My test results came back with the following:

1. Severe gluten intolerance
2. Possible parasite
3. Severe yeast/fungus overgrowth

I have also recently found out that it is the casein causing me problems, not milk fat. (most likely) the casein molecule is very similar to the gluten molecule (milk protein vs. wheat protein), so having a gluten sensitivity often leads to casein sensitivity.

Hard cheese have little to no casein in them. So you can try to test your casein sensitivity by trying a hard cheese vs. a soft cheese (spaced out over some time).

However, I highly recommend finding a doctor the way I did. I'm finally on a treatment regimen that suits my condition, and there may be one out there for you too. You're worth it!

Tyson said...

Sadly most doctors, especially PCPs are no help at all. I've recently been very fortunate to find an excellent GI doctor who has me on the path to recovery. I found her by going to the Metametrix (poop lab) website, then requesting the names of local doctors who use their services. My test results came back with the following:

1. Severe gluten intolerance
2. Possible parasite
3. Severe yeast/fungus overgrowth

I have also recently found out that it is most likely the casein causing me problems, not milk fat. The casein molecule is very similar to the gluten molecule (milk protein vs. wheat protein), so having a gluten sensitivity often leads to casein sensitivity. How this produces gas without being a sugar or carbohydrate molecule, I don't know. But, it definitely has left me bloated (inflamed) etc.

One thing to note... Hard cheeses have little to no casein in them. So you can try to test your casein sensitivity by trying a hard cheese vs. a soft cheese. (Probably have to try them on different days to separate the effects in time.)

However, I highly recommend finding a doctor the way I did. I'm finally on a treatment regimen that suits my condition, and there may be one out there for you too. You're worth it!

Steve Carper said...

Tyson wrote: "One thing to note... Hard cheeses have little to no casein in them. So you can try to test your casein sensitivity by trying a hard cheese vs. a soft cheese."

Sorry, but this is completely wrong. The aging process of cheese makes it harder by squeezing out the whey portion, the part that contains the whey protein and the lactose as well as the water.

What's left is casein and fat. Hard cheeses have a higher casein level than soft cheeses. It's not surprising that the difference between them wouldn't lead to expected results. Gluten intolerance does not necessarily lead to casein sensitivity, either.

All the buzzwords in your post - "parasite" "yeast/fungus overgrowth" "MetaMetrix" - are standard alternative medicine nonsense. When people ask me why I'm always against alternative medicines, I point them to posts like this, filled with bad science.

Unknown said...

Well, Steve... I'll admit, I'm not an expert on cheese. And you may have me on that. But, to dismiss everything else I'm saying out of hand, when I've seen my symptoms improve and I'm under the care of a competent MD who is widely respected and published... That doesn't speak very highly of your contribution.

Unknown said...

Anyone who's "always" against anything is pretty untrustworthy in my book.

Anonymous said...

This is just what my 5-yr-old son and I have. Why is this not studied more?

tammy said...

Perhaps it is the milk fat that is the issue. According to this mouse study, and a very new study, milk fat requires large amounts of sulphur rich bile for digestion. The dramatically increases a certain nasty bacteria in the intestines rapidly:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21920-milk-fats-clue-to-inflammatory-bowel-disease.html

http://www.bioportfolio.com/news/article/1137957/Gut-Microbiota-Diet-Promotes-Dysbiosis-And-Colitis-In-Susceptible-Hosts.html


Perhaps some people's dairy issues have little to do with protein allergies or lactose intolerance as the fat itself seems to have issues in terms of causing inflammation and destructive bacterial overgrowth.

E said...

Wow! I'm curious now... I've been trying to identify a food allergy for years and years without success. Blood-work comes out normal and I can drink a glass of milk. However, today (being on a super low-carb diet) I had a lot of cream and cheese. Nothing else that ever upsets me, just some veggies, egg, beef. By evening I had full-on runs. Looking back, the clearest connections to getting crazy sick has been when eating lots of cheese, big lattes or cream. Not only those times, but they have stood out. Plus, oddly enough, I have a big problem with the inside of my ears itching (strange one). I need to test this now - no cream for a few days then try again!

Anonymous said...

Yeah man... Avoid dairy altogether. Dairy products in the U.S. are bad for you anyway -- whether the cows are fed corn or given hormones, the milk is heat pasturized, usually ultra pasturized, and homogenized... It's just another processed food like crackers or sausage.

Anonymous said...

Great work finding these articles, tammy!

Altheia said...

I come from a family very aware of food issues and I've had problems with dairy my whole life. I have wheat intollerances that affect my stomach, but for me the reaction to milk is in my sineses, throat and chest infections rather than my stomach. (I read somewhere that this probably means its an allergy rather than intollerance). If I have a lot of really creamy dessert/icecream I can end up in bed for a week with flu-like symptoms. I grew up on non dairy milk substitutes so I find the taste of milk disgusting, but higher fat milk, cream, ice cream, milk chocolate and cheese affect me the most. I can have no-fat dairy yoghurt, and sheep and goats milk products without a problem. I have learned to drink my coffee black and so don't really touch 'dairy substitutes'. When I have dairy free chocolate I get a 'wow i don't have a headache' feeling, without ever consciously feeling the effect of a headache normally (amazing what your body learns to tollerate).

I have lived in Australia and England, never America - I don't know what the difference in milk production is in the different countries.

But anecdotally talking to friends and family with milk problems most will agree that they have a problem with the cream/fat in milk, not the lactose. Have often wondered about the connection but haven't found any information on internet apart from this page. It's good to see that this is a fairly common reaction though.

I haven't been to a professional about this in my adult life (I'm in my early 30s) because after a childhood visiting more natropaths than GPs, I take the opinion that a lifetime of being aware and observing my bodies reactions to food is more reliable.

Anonymous said...

Casein intolerance turns out to be the real problem most of the time. Try a good grass-fed ghee (like the one sold on Amazon.com) to test it. Properly-made ghee is free of lactose and casein. Usually this takes care of the problem. Hence there is no information on the Internet regarding milk fat intolerance because it's actually milk protein intolerance, i.e. casein intolerance. This is also common if you're gluten intolerant because the gluten (wheat protein) and casein (milk protein) have a very similar structure, such that your body may react similarly to both.

Anonymous said...

So glad I have found this. I have never really liked milk, I drink herbal tea and have soya yogurt on my cereal. Over the years I have had a problem with rich meals. On one occasion I had a creamy cheesy pasta dish out with friends and a felt so I'll I had to leave to go home to throw up. Clotted cream is definatelu problem for me Especially if I have also been having a rich diet leading up to eating it. I has a roast meal at my sisters followed by a fruit crumble with clotted cream. Within about an hour I realised I'd had a bad reaction. I felt like I wasxoming down with he flu. Temperature, heAd ache, aching limbs, horrid taste in my mouth and a dry mouth. Major stomach cramps and terrible smelling wind. My stomach felt like I had a rock in it. Now 48 hours in the flu symptoms are starting to subside But still have cramps and horrid taste. This had happened several times before and always when I have had clotted cream. The weird thing is I can eat cheese Ok. I have had similar symptoms from eating a pasty, high butter content with wheat. I find I do have To limit how much bread I eat as this can lead to similar symptoms but not as bad. So greatfully that Rhus has given me a starting point for further investigation.

vicki said...

i was said to be intolerant to milk fat as a baby, threw up any milk product that didnt have all the milkfat removed and was put on a formula of skim milk and vegetable fats (mother unable to breastfeed) later i was supposed to have grown out of it - but i always hated milk. now that i am > 50 a doctor asked me to religeously cut dairy for 2 weeks to see the effect, and it was unbelievable. issues I have had my whole life disappeared (only to return with a vengeance if I consume even the slightest amount of milk, butter, cheese or even ghee. the symptoms are flu-like muscle aches, migraine, water retention, increased blood sugar measurements (im diabetic so i check and it correlates very well) The worst of it is 2 days after eating it, and can take a week or so to alleviate.

Anonymous said...

My belated post:

I have a gradient of symptoms to milkfat that started when I was about 16 (I'm now 40). A food like buttered toast causes severe diarrhea within 20 minutes of eating, while lesser concentrations of milkfat--small amounts of cheese or cream or two percent milk--can cause bloating that lasts several days. Skim milk in small amounts seems to be ok.

While this may seem odd, I accidentally test it once or twice a year by unintentionally consuming something with butter or ghee in it. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I believe that this is a problem for me as well, I started out feeling as though I were lactose intolerant after I had my son when I was 21. I stayed away from dairy products as much as possible, including ice cream, which caused the worst symptoms; horrible cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea. That seemed as though it was working, although whenever I would eat something dairy and took a lactase supplement, it wouldn't always help. And then I was getting symptoms from even fat free lactose free milk and I thought that I could be allergic, so I switched to almond milk and avoided dairy even more. Now over a year later I find that I can tolerate skim milk without a supplement, nonfat yoghurts, lowfat cheeses and small doses of other cheese with little or no symptoms, although icecream is still out which is a sore spot for me because I love it. But I have been getting the feeling that it has been going on a lot longer than I thought it had. I remember being little and having milk with dinner and having diarrhea directly after, and I was never able to drink milk on an empty stomach because it felt like it w as curdling in my stomach, but I never thought that it was the milk then.
I believe that my mother may have a lesser form of it because she can only drink skim milk and I can remember her drinking powdered milk. Milk fat is also a trigger for my chronic bronnchitis

Anonymous said...

You may have a gluten intolerance that is triggered by the casein (milk protein) because casein is very similar to the gluten protein in structure (chemically). This would explain why fat free lactose free milk can cause you trouble. And it would explain why you get an immune response (chronic bronchitis) because gluten and casein intolerance trigger an immune response. You might want to do some research into these topics and possibly try an elimination diet (eliminating gluten and casein) for a month to see what happens. Note that if you do have gluten/casein intolerance and you continue consuming them, over time your immune system will fail and you will probably develop an auto-immune disease like fibromyalgia or arthritis or something worse. Serious stuff.

Heather Iverson said...

Glad I'm not the only one who has struggled to find an explanation. I though I was lactose intolerant but it didn't make sense that I could drink nonfat milk and eat yogurt. But when I consumed whole milk, creams, etc.....I would get very sick. It also explains why I can't tolerate milk chocolate. When I get my Starbucks at the store where I work, they know never to use whole milk. Recently I tried a different coffee shop and neglected to request skim or nonfat milk. Half an hour later I was sick.
There definitly needs to be more studies done on this.

Hal S said...

Interesting thread. I have been intolerant of butter fat since infancy as well. Many of the symptoms others report are true for me as well (bloating, pain, followed by roaring diarrhea). I think it's a true allergic response because my mother tells me that as a small child if I was given full fat ice cream or was somewhere that real butter was on the table I would eat it until there wasn't any more, which is a classic definition of the craving/allergy response.

As I've aged, I've gotten slightly more tolerant of butter fat (I can eat small quantities of ice cream, for example), but I also find the taste of most dairy products repellant. As an aside, go out for dinner and pay attention to just how many menu items include cheese or cream sauces.

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed as a child as Milk Fat intolerance.

Everyone thinks I'm weird when I tell them, but eventually they give in. Most of my friends just think I prefer low fat milk.

To be honest, only once in my life have I had whole milk, and it made me wish I was dead.

So to answer your question, yes it does exist.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been diagnosed w/ any type of dairy intolerance, but I have been fighting bloating/cramps/diarrhea/nausea/puking for about 10 years now (I'm now 28) as one thing that will bother me one day, I can have a couple days later with no problems (as I believe my intolerance is also hormonally related to different parts in my menstrual cycle). However, as my problems have been getting progressively worse until I was sick every day, I finally cut dairy out completely and after about a month I was feeling great. I ate a lot of dairy as a child, multiple glasses of 2% milk at dinner, along with a lot of cheese and ice cream. I've been slowly bringing different dairy components back in, as I had always had the worst problems with cheese and ice cream, and not milk. I have found I can have a glass of milk, or milk baked into things with no problem, but butter on a piece of bread (as I have recently moved to dairy country and margarine is non-existent) puts me in the bathroom for awhile. I've been trying to find things about possible milk-fat intolerance instead of lactose, and haven't been able to find much so I'm glad other people seem to have this problem too and its not just me. I will be trying low/no fat cheese and ice cream and see if that makes them tolerable to eat.
I do know that I do have IBS, anything greasy gives me the same symptoms, and I do not eat highly fatty meat as that texture makes me gag. IBS runs in my family, as my mom, aunt, and multiple cousins on that side of the family all have it. They do not have much of an issue with butter/cheese/ice cream, like I do.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I stumbled upon this page!!! As an infant,I was diagnosed as having a milkfat allergy and put on skim milk. When I inadvertantly eat products containing whole milk/milkfat I get severe stomach cramps and have severe diarrhea. Like other posters have mentioned, I stay away from cream sauces and rich foods because they just make me miserable. However, I love frozen lattes, when they're made with skim milk---I can ALWAYS tell, within 20 minutes of finishing one, whether or not it was prepared using the skim milk I requested. Lasagna is another favorite, but I have to use part-skim ricotta (my husband bought whole milk ricotta 1 time and made the lasagna before I saw the container----BOOM--cramping & diarrhea 20 minutes later!) Still not realizing it (I thought I had a flu-type bug), I had another serving 2 days later & had the same results. When we pulled the container out of the trash, we discovered the truth---it totally validated the diagnosis I had received nearly 40 years ago. My husband's family, however thinks it's all in my head and continues to use whole milk products to prepare items for family meals (we've been together for 16 years). Good times, right?!! So far, my two children have not shown any signs of this, which makes me soooo thankful. Hopefully, they'll never have to deal with any food sensitivities/allergies. All of the information shared here has been extrememly helpful & interesting!

Heather Iverson said...

This has been helpful. I have struglled with this since I was going. I was told that I was intolerant to milk chocolate. So I avoided it for the most part. But over the years I began to pay more attention to when I would have abdominal pains and other symptoms that didn't seem to fit with my other allergies or pcos (which I also have). I can drink nonfat milk, and skim milk to a point. I don't eat anything dairy in large portions. I can tolerate yogurt. Cheese and butter in small amounts. And I am a chocolate lover but now I usualy head for dark chocolate. I have not ever had a doctor mention milk fat as a possible allergy. It would not surprise me though, as I seemed to inherit all the allergies from both sides of my family unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

I can drink fat free milk which I usually dilute with water about 3 parts water to 1 part fate free milk. I cannot have milkfat, it will pass through me so quickly that I have to be near a bathroom if I ingest more than about 1/4 cup of whole milk. Even the 1/4 cup will give me incredible abdominal pain like getting a colonoscopy. I once had a milkshake without thinking about it because I had been drinking powered milk for so long I barely made it to a restroom and thought an alien was going to burst from my guts. Would love for some way to deal with this problem. I have noticed a problem with digesting other fats but no where near the degree of milkfat. I know within a couple of minutes if someone used whole milk in cooking instead of skim milk.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have also recently discovered that my intolerance to milk is not so much because of the lactose or casein but milk fat.I also think I am intolerant to animal fat in general. My symptoms are not digestion related...I have no digestive issues...I just breakout...as in pimples.