Milk is one of the many elements of the food pyramid that make up a healthy diet. However, despite the many health benefits, consuming milk in large quantities can cause migraines, and for some, have more harmful effects. Lactose intolerance, an allergy to milk and milk-based ingredients, is one of the eighth most common allergies in the world. For people with this particular allergy, dairy is a product best avoided, as it can cause varying degrees of stress to the body. If you’re on a dairy-free diet, here are some foods you might want to double-check the ingredients for, as you probably wouldn’t expect them to have dairy!
1. All Beef Hot Dogs
With a name that includes the phrase “all-beef”, you probably wouldn’t expect it, but many hot dog brands do use milk ingredients to create their products.
2. Tomato Sauce
While the main ingredient in tomato sauce is tomatoes, various brands of tomato sauce feature grated Romano cheese as one of the main ingredients.
3. Canned Pasta in Tomato Sauce
Speaking of tomato sauce, many canned pastas that are purchased as quick meals for the kids also have trace amounts of cheese or milk products for added nutritional value.
4. Store-bought crackers
Most store-bought crackers contain either butter or milk powder, so if you’re looking for a dairy-free option, your best bet is organic crackers.
5. Instant Potatoes
The best way to get your mashed potatoes creamy and smooth is with a dash of milk and it's no different for instant mashed potatoes. Always check the ingredients, as some instant potatoes contain cream or other milk products to add to the taste.
6. Potato Chips
Here’s another potato product, but milk isn’t a common ingredient for it, usually. While milk would seem like an obvious ingredient for Cheddar flavored chips, you probably wouldn’t expect to see it in flavors such as dill pickle, jalapeno, and barbecue.
7. Chicken Nuggets, Fish sticks, and other frozen foods
Most frozen foods, especially breaded items, such as fish sticks and chicken nuggets, contain milk ingredients (usually in the breading mixture) along with the usual spices and meat.
8. Vinaigrette and other salad dressings
It’s important to check the ingredients of salad dressing before purchasing, as some brands may use different forms of cheese, or other milk products in the ingredients.
Nutella is a chocolate-like spread, made up of cocoa, hazelnut, palm oil, and sugar, along with skim milk, or skim milk powder, as well as whey powder.
10. Canned Tuna
For those who think Tuna is a dairy-free product, think again and check the ingredients for casein. Casein is a protein derived from skim milk and is sometimes added to canned tuna to increase the nutritional value.
11. Soy Cheese
This does not sound like something that should contain dairy. Normal soy cheese may contain casein or whey protein, both of which are dairy products, so look for a vegan label to ensure your soy cheese is dairy-free.
12. Granola Bars
These breakfast bars and quick snacks usually contain only grains and nuts, with a sweetener like honey to solidify the bar. However, some granola bars contain small amounts of milk to add to the calcium and protein content of the bars.
13. Baby Cereals
Rice or oats based cereals are sometimes recommended by doctors for babies switching to eating solid foods. Much like granola bars, some brands add skim milk powder for extra calcium and protein.
14. Spice Mixes
Here’s a revelation for all people with lactose intolerance. Some spice mixes may contain whey powder, for increased protein content.
There is a plethora of vitamins, pills, prescription and over the counter medications available today that most likely contain lactose. Dairy accounts for the base of approximately 25% of the most commonly used medications, so if you’re looking for a lactose-free medication, its advisable to check for alternatives with your doctor.