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Milk Protein Free Diet

Updated 08/24/2023
Category: Diet

A milk protein free diet is used for certain food allergy related conditions.  It is most often used to treat an allergic condition of the esophagus called Eosinophilic Esophagitis.   It is more restrictive than a lactose free diet.  A lactose free diet focuses on minimizing or eliminating the sugar, lactose that is in milk.  Some people lack the enzyme necessary to breakdown lactose.  A milk protein free diet is different.  There are two primary proteins found in mammalian milk (i.e cow’s milk, goat’s milk).  One protein is called whey, and the other casein.  Companies that make processed food often add whey protein to improve the taste and add fullness and texture.  Avoiding milk protein can be tricky.  For example, the term “nondairy” on a label does not mean no milk protein.


Learn to read food labels carefully. Foods that contain milk protein like whey or casein will list these in their ingredients. Also look out for phrases such as “contains milk” or “may contain traces of milk.” If you see these, avoid the product.


Opt for milk substitutes such as almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, and coconut milk. Ensure they are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which are important nutrients typically obtained from milk. However, be cautious of products labeled as “lactose-free milk”, as they still contain milk protein.


Look for vegan or dairy-free cheese and yogurt. They are usually made from nuts, soy, or other plant-based proteins.


Be aware that milk proteins can be hidden in various products such as baked goods, candies, processed meats, salad dressings, and more. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer or avoid the product.


Plan your meals to ensure you’re getting a balanced diet. Incorporate lots of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins into your diet. When preparing meals, use dairy-free recipes or modify recipes to replace dairy ingredients.


When dining out, inform the server about your dietary restrictions. Ask for the ingredients in the dish you plan to order, and request for milk or dairy products to be left out, if possible.


Consider working with a dietitian to ensure your diet is balanced and nutritious. You might need to take supplements for nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 that are typically obtained from dairy.


Educate yourself and your household about your diet to prevent accidental ingestion of milk proteins.


Remember, everyone’s needs are different, so it’s best to work with a healthcare professional or dietitian to develop a diet plan that suits your individual nutritional needs and lifestyle.


Examples of foods to eat and those to avoid:


OK Avoid
Breakfast ·         Oats and other grains

·         Eggs without milk or cream

·         French toast (homemade without milk)

·         Fresh or canned fruits

·         Fruit and vegetable juices

·         Use milk alternatives.

·         Cereals that contain whey or casein particularly those that advertise as “high protein” or are pre-cooked.

·         Most commercial pancake mixes.

·         Yogurt

·         Egg substitutes

Lunch ·         Sandwich without cheese or processed meat

·         Peanut butter

·         Most salads

·         Soups made with bouillon

·         Milk-based soups such as chowders

·         Some salad dressings

·         Cheese

Dinner ·         Seafoods made without cream sauce.

·         Whole meat (beef, chicken and pork)

·         Potatoes made without butter or cream

·         Noodles and spaghetti

·         Whole vegetables

·         Tomato sauce

·         Many processed meats such as hot dogs, sausages, bologna (read labels)

·         Potato au gratin

·         Cheese

·         Batter or breaded foods

Snacks and desserts ·         Candy made without milk


·         Ice cream

·         Chocolate

·         Fudge

·         Nougat

Miscellaneous ·         Ketchup and mustard

·         Nuts

·         Spices

·         Brown sugar

·         Some condiments may contain milk protein such as artificial butter

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