US dairy vs European Dairy

Old Apr 7th, 2015, 12:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
US dairy vs European Dairy

I thought I was lactose Intolerant my entire life!

I get very sick when I eat dairy in the United States, only to find this out when I went backpacking through Europe in College and never once got sick.

I came home and once again very sick so I completely cut dairy out of my diet like before.

Two and a half years later I moved to England to get my Master degree and again never once got sick. I was so excited I had milk with my cereal, ice cream, cheese! You name a dairy product and I probably tried it and I felt great!

I backpacked again this last fall through eastern Europe and again felt great and was having dairy regularly.

I have recently moved back to the US and I am getting ill again. I cannot eat dairy at all and have again cut it out of my diet completely.

Ive been to the allergist and they tell me I am a mystery! I read a very old forum about people that possibly had similar experiences, did anyone ever get an answer?
SareWeather is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 55,996
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
is it possibly something to do with how the milk is treated? in the UK the vast majority of milk is pasteurised, ditto cream and cheese.

how is it treated in the US? I seem to remember that it was homogenised i.e. the cream was distributed through the milk. I wonder if that's got anything to do with it.

[no, I don't remember that old thread, sorry].
annhig is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 01:17 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 40,077
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Milk that is sold in stores in the US is, by regulation, pasteurized and has been for decades. It is usually always homogenized, too, so that the cream does not rise to the top.
Dukey1 is online now  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 01:19 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 16,493
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Contrary to what janisj said in your other thread milk throughout Europe is pasteurised, (or sterilised or UHT treated) and has been for decades. Whilst you can still buy raw milk from some farms in many countries it is illegal to sell raw milk, certainly in shops.
It may or may not be homogenised, depending on the country.
What European milk (and meat) doesn't have is bovine growth hormones in it, since they are banned. US milk and meat does. Whether that is the difference to your allergy I don't know.
hetismij2 is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 01:19 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 9,171
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Have you tried organic grass fed dairy products? I grew up on a dairy farm and the milk products are not the same. My Uncle stopped farming in the 80's when they wanted hormones put in the feed. I know Italian butchers that would not eat our eat in the US.
flpab is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am European and I have developed lactose intolerance when I was around 40 years old. Your phenomenon has nothing to do with lactose. It has nothing to do with pasteurizing either.

It still appears to be mystery. Sometimes, these things have very strange causes: it may be the packaging or the detergent which is used to clean the glasses.
traveller1959 is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 01:52 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have to specify my previous post: My wife has a stronge allergy against a certain make of wall paint. I talked to the chief chemicist of the manufacturing company and he said the reason was a certain chemical that is used as a preserving agent. He said that nowhere in Germany this preservative is used and that she must have developed the allergy elsewhere. After some talk, he said that this chemical is frequently used in French household products. And yes, we have very often vacationed in France!

Maybe it is a similar little chemical that is used in the U.S. but not in UK. Maybe it reacts with milk. So you have the symptoms when drinking milk, but it is not the milk but another thing which does not react with beer. So you can drink U.S. beer but not U.S. milk.

The only way to find out is an extensive series of experiments with your body. Good luck!
traveller1959 is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lait cru, raw milk, is quite readily available in SW France, both cow's and and goat's milk.

Our supermarket has a large chilled dispenser. You bring your own container. I've not been tempted or curious.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 399
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I thought I was lactose intolerant (i live in the US). For years I avoided most dairy except those with minute amounts of lactose with little improvement. My gastro doc recently told me to not consume any dairy. This upsets me greatly because it's difficult enough to dine out in the U.S. and feel assured my food is not cooked in butter or contains cheese, milk, etc so how much more difficult it will be in foreign countries.

I will be interested in other's experiences as they travel abroad. Hopefully there will be anecdotal evidence that European dairy is safe for those like myself!

We should probably move this to another forum.
MarySteveChicago is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Only you can judge your level of intolerance but generally speaking, compared to milk, hard cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan have very small amounts of lactose.

I try to avoid dishes cooked with large amounts of cheese, cream or butter due to the fat content which is the last thing I need. I live in SW France where the cooking is more Med and Spanish influenced--olive oil used for grilling and flavor, rarely any cream and not much emphasis on cheese in main courses.

All large cities and really almost everywhere in Europe cater to all types of diets, diet restrictions, ethnic preferences, etc. You certainly won't go hungry.

I've never heard that European dairy products are easier to digest that those in the U.S. but as others have said, difference in feed content or processing could make a difference. Much of the milk, cheese, etc. in Europe is mass-processed, not hand-churned by dairy maids with cute blond braids.

I would not stress over it. You will have many delicious non-dairy options. Try a bit and see how you react. If no problem, try a bit more. Obviously, I am assuming your intolerance makes you uncomfortable not deathly ill. If the latter, learn how to inquire about ingredients in the languages of the countries you are visiting.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,286
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have a good friend who is gluten-intolerant and carefully avoids gluten in the US. When she vacationed in France, she couldn't resist trying the baked goods and had no trouble at all. Here were her doctors' ideas about this: 1. In Europe no GMOs are allowed in foods, and she may be sensitive to the GMO wheat 2. Some recent research has revealed that most commercial bakeries in the US use a yeast "booster" which consists of a number of ingredients, including a large dose of gluten. There may be other factors in how wheat is processed or what kinds of additives are used which may account for the difference.

I would guess that the same general things may be true for dairy in Europe.
Kathie is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 05:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,099
Likes: 0
Received 8 Likes on 1 Post
For years my wife has taken a soy lecithin supplement because she has proven that it helps her with a particular medical issue.

A few years ago she started feeling miserable whenever she took the stuff, same amount, same brand. To make a long short, turns out they had recently switched to a GMO soy product. She changed brands to a non-GMO lecithin and immediately had no more problems.

Obviously not a rigorous study, but based on that experience I'd second flpab's and Kathie's suggestion to try non-GMO / organic grass fed dairy products and see what happens. GMO corn is fed to many (most?) dairy cows in the U.S.

May not solve your problem, but it would be interesting to hear if that makes a difference.
Nelson is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5,090
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sareweather, I have had the same experience as you. In the US I am quite lactose intolerant and when I travel in Europe I can have dairy products without a problem. It is wonderful to eat gelato everyday in Italy. When I eat ice cream in the US, I have digestive problems shortly after I eat.

Several years ago, I discussed this with my doctor who was originally from Europe.He told me that he and his mother who was still living in France had similar experiences with dairy products in the US.

He was guessing that maybe there were different methods of pasteurization and that perhaps the method in the US killed more of the helpful bacteria or enzymes.
Saraho is online now  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 09:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,976
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
As I posted on your other thread:

I don't think it has anything to do with pasteurization or homogenization. I believe it has to do with the junk they inject into cows in the US. I, too, have an allergy to American dairy, but am fine not just with imported cheese, but with organic American dairy.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 09:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,434
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My DH is lactose intolerant in the US and Europe.
yipper is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 11:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22,198
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
I would think the issues of how the animals are treated in the US, drugs, hormones, large farms, are critical to how milk develops (stuff in = stuff out)

On the other hand the whole idea of forcing animals into lactation seems like the some of the worst part of the animal slavery industry.
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2015, 08:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2,546
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In Australia they sell a brand of milk called a2, taken from cows who are selected for their ability to provide milk with the a2 protein as opposed to the a1 protein. A2 milk is supposed to produce fewer allergic symptoms than normal milk (which has both a1 and a2 proteins) and so those who are intolerant are recommended to drink a2. Could it be that in Europe or parts thereof there are more cows with the a2 protein? And in your part of the world, more cows with a1 protein? I don't know how you would test this out because I don't think a2 milk is international (yet). Interesting no-one has brought this up yet, hope you find out what it is.

lavandula is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2015, 01:43 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,213
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The explanation about the hormones etc. sounds most logical to me.
quokka is offline  
Old Mar 27th, 2016, 02:50 AM
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I know this is from a year ago but I think still relevant & it doesn't appear that anyone has been able to find any type of medical solution.

You are not alone! I am Australian and grew up eating dairy. I moved to USA (Oregon) and after about 2 years developed a dairy intolerance. It took me a couple weeks to really narrow it down. At first I could still eat mozzarella or anything with Tillamook brand but now 4 years later, all dairy in america causes problems. I recently went back to Australia and discovered I could eat all the Australian dairy I could get my hands on without as much as a stomach rumble. Life was good. Now, I'm back in the states and met with the same problem. I am literally a human 'bad dairy' detector.

Lactaid helps but still feel pretty crappy. A2 milk from USA doesn't affect me but i'm really not into drinking milk anymore (the problem is in buying food out anywhere - dairy seems to be in EVERYTHING - breads, sauces, crackers, dips, anything cooked in butter etc).

I've heard people say it's the hormones or steroids they shoot up the cows here with, others say it's the method of processing dairy and even heard some fool saying it's

I have not seen a doc about it but imagine they will tell me, 'avoid eating dairy' which I already do and really, it's easier said than done.

Interested to hear of any solid answers or any other cases of this & what you have found helpful?
aus_2_usa is offline  
Old Mar 27th, 2016, 03:35 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22,198
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
The indiscriminate use of antibiotics as "growth stimulants" in the US which is destroying world wide antibiotic availability (a bigger disaster on the horizon than mere lactose intolerance) is probably also a key issue.

Basically the American food industry is &&&&&d from the top to the bottom with crisis levels of obesity, etc etc.
bilboburgler is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information