Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. Though yogurt is usually made from cow’s milk, sometimes buffalo or goat milk is also used. It is a popular food item consumed mostly after meals and is available in many different flavors. Some people may be allergic to yogurt and show clear symptoms, which can be fatal in extreme situations. If you’re allergic to milk, it is best to avoid all dairy products, including yogurt. Yogurt allergy cannot be cured but can be treated with dietary and lifestyle changes.
Greek yogurt is more strained than regular yogurt. Greek yogurt is much thicker and creamier than regular yogurt because the whey is strained from it. Whey is the milk’s watery component, which remains after the milk has curdled. Removing that liquid gives Greek yogurt its denser consistency. Ultimately, even Greek yogurt is no different than regular yogurt when it comes to allergic reactions.
Causes Of Yogurt Allergy
Yogurt allergy occurs because of the proteins called casein and whey present in yogurt.1 People with milk allergy would also be allergic to yogurt and vice-versa. Some people may be allergic to one or both the proteins. When people with milk or dairy allergy consume dairy products, the immune system produces histamine, a chemical that protects the body from infection. Histamine is the chemical that causes most milk allergy symptoms such as skin reaction, gastrointestinal problems, and other allergic reactions.
Yogurt allergy and milk allergy are closely related. The allergy-causing proteins present in milk are present in yogurt too.2 Some people who are allergic to milk are able to eat yogurt without any allergic problems because the culturing process it goes through makes yogurt easier to digest than milk. Moreover, if you are allergic to yogurt made from cow’s milk, it does not mean you are allergic to all yogurt. You may be able to ingest yogurt made from goat’s milk or buffalo milk.
Symptoms Of Yogurt Allergy
- Skin reactions such as hives, rashes, redness, and inflammation
- Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pains3
- Severe reactions like dizziness, breathlessness, low blood pressure and breathing difficulties (these symptoms are an indication of anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction. A person experiencing these symptoms must be immediately administered epinephrine by a physician to stop the reaction)4
Preventing Yogurt Allergy
- Avoid yogurt, milk, cheese and all other milk products
- Read the labels on packed foods and avoid products that contain yogurt or milk
- While eating out, ensure that the ingredients are devoid of dairy products and avoid such foods
Allergy Testing, Management, And Treatment
- Avoiding milk and foods containing milk products is the only way to manage a yogurt allergy
- Skin test and blood test can be done to check for yogurt allergy
- Once tested for allergy, your allergist may recommend antihistamines or topical corticosteroids to treat the reaction
- Always carry an epinephrine to prevent severe allergic reaction5
Note: Yogurt allergy can result in severe reactions and even death if left untreated. Consult your doctor for testing if you suspect that you are allergic to yogurt.
|↑1, ↑4||Van de Water, Judy, Carl L. Keen, and M. Eric Gershwin. “The influence of chronic yogurt consumption on immunity.” The Journal of nutrition 129, no. 7 (1999): 1492S-1495s.|
|↑2||Know the Difference: Milk Allergy vs. Dairy Allergy vs. Lactose Intolerance. Food Allergy Research And Education. 2014.|
|↑3, ↑5||Milk & Dairy Allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.|