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Dairy-Free vs Lactose-Free. Facts to help you conquer your Dairy-Free Lifestyle 101

Dairy-Free is Lactose-Free but not the other way around.

Various products you see on grocery store shelves and in refrigerators are labeled with terms like dairy-free and lactose-free, but what does that mean? And, are they the same thing? Well, the answer is actually, no...definitely not!

Understanding the difference between the two becomes especially crucial and important when we are talking about milk/dairy allergies. The real difference is in how the body responds to each intolerance when ingested.

Lactose intolerance refers to the body's lack of ability to properly break down and metabolize lactose, the sugars found in milk.  Our bodies stop producing the enzyme, lactase, in our bodies around the age of 3-4 years of age once we are weaned from our mothers. Milks sole purpose is to be a source of nutrition to a growing baby infant who is not yet ready to transition into eating solid foods. In addition, humans were never meant to drink milk from another mammal…”not your mom, not your milk”

Ingesting lactose can cause some to have gastric discomfort including gastrointestinal pains, gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, just to name a few. It is said that two-thirds of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. Read. That. Again. Which would make sense if you're above the age of 3 years old, an adult and no longer nursing from your mother...

 Although we are not discrediting the severity of lactose intolerance and the pain, discomfort, and troubles it brings into the life of some, usually the symptoms are not life-threatening as with a milk/dairy food allergy.

We still see you lactose intolerant friends! Be Free Co is on a mission to help you just as much as we're on a mission to help our dairy allergy community, vegan community, health conscience, ethical thinkers, and the like...

Milk allergy is the body's overreaction to one of the two proteins found in milk and milk products; casein, the main protein found in milk, and whey, the watery substance that remains after milk has been curdled and strained. Whey is often used in proteins, as a thickening agent, and more. The body identifies these proteins as a foreigner and sends an immune response. Milk as a foreign substance?! Let that sink in.

 Milk allergy is the leading food allergy in both infants and children today and can cause symptoms across a wide spectrum; from stomach pains, diarrhea, bloating, eczema, skin rash, hives, brain fog, exhaustion, to even anaphylaxis sometimes resulting in death.

When living with a milk allergy it is imperative for a person to choose to live a dairy free lifestyle choosing foods that are completely absent from dairy or milk-containing ingredients.

 Lactose-free foods are dairy foods where the lactose (milk sugar) has been removed to make it digestible for our friends suffering from lactose intolerance but the dairy proteins are still very much present. You see lactose free labeling on dairy products only such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Dairy-free means that there’s no dairy or dairy proteins detectable according to FDA standards, and is usually made out of nuts, soy, coconut, or other alternatives instead.

In a nutshell (see what I did there?!) that is how looking for dairy-free foods vs lactose free foods can differ, and very much affect your body's response to whichever option you choose that's right for you.

The BeFree Subscription Box is solving problems people experience while living a dairy-free or lactose-free lifestyle and choosing dairy-free foods because of an intolerance, allergy, living a vegan lifestyle, ethical reasons, or wanting to go dairy-free to live an optimal healthy lifestyle. We read the labels for you, we parter and reach out to companies who meet our dairy-free standards, and we've scoured the world for the most premier, top brands, and sought after foods in the dairy-free market place to bring you only the best quality, delicious tasting, smarter and healthier snacking options available. 

Do you have a favorite dairy-free food you'd like to see featured in a box? Let us know at dairyfree@befree-co.com. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @befreeco and Facebook Be Free Co. 

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