Best Dairy to Avoid Digestive Stress or Lactose Intolerance

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 10/22/2023

Ever had a slice of cheese or glass of milk and then spent the next few hours regretting it? You're not alone. Millions worldwide grapple with digestive issues after consuming dairy, often due to lactose intolerance or milk allergies.

But what if we told you that all dairy isn't created equal? That there's one particular protein - casein - that can make all the difference in how your body reacts to dairy?

In this enlightening journey, we'll dive into understanding these common dietary hurdles and explore how different types of casein proteins affect our bodies differently.

From unmasking links between specific proteins and health conditions like type 1 diabetes to revealing beneficial alternatives such as goat cheese rich in A2 casein, by the end of this read, you'll be well-equipped to navigate through your dairy choices for optimal digestive health.

Don't forget to buckle up!

Understanding Lactose Intolerance and Milk Allergies

Lactose intolerance and milk allergies are common issues that affect many people worldwide. These conditions cause physical discomfort, including symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea.

It may not just be in your imagination if you've ever experienced an off feeling after consuming ice cream or having a latte. It's estimated that around 65% of the global population has some degree of lactose intolerance after infancy.

This is because our bodies produce less lactase—the enzyme needed to digest lactose—as we age.

On the other hand, milk allergies involve an immune response to one or more proteins found in dairy products. Symptoms can range from mild hives to severe anaphylaxis.

The Role of Casein Proteins in Dairy

Did you know dairy products contain two distinct types of casein proteins, A1 and A2? They're not identical twins but more like fraternal ones with unique effects on our bodies. While both are important, they play different roles.

The Link Between A1 Casein and Type 1 Diabetes

A bit sinister by nature, the A1 version is known to increase inflammation. Early exposure to A1 casein may be connected to the emergence of type 1 diabetes in a potentially significant way. Why so? It has an unusual knack for attaching itself to beta cells involved in this form of diabetes.

The Importance of Avoiding Early Exposure to A1 Casein

To keep your little one safe from these unwanted guest proteins at their party inside their body, experts recommend avoiding exposing children to the A1 variant early. Like ensuring only guests come over for your child's birthday bash.

Discovering the Benefits of A2 Casein

The perks of consuming dairy with A2 casein are many, especially for those wrestling with digestive woes. But why is that?

Goat Cheese - An Excellent Source of A2 Casein

You may be astonished that goat cheese is filled with this marvelous protein. That's right, your favorite tangy treat could help fix tummy troubles. Consuming it doesn't just tickle your taste buds but also aids in better digestion.

A little more on how this works: Goat cheese has high amounts of A2 casein, making it easier on our stomachs than regular cow milk products. The result? Fewer instances of bloating and discomfort.

Sheep Cheese - Another A2 Casein-rich Option

No need to worry if goat cheese isn't your preference; sheep cheese is an equally excellent option with the same beneficial A2 casein protein.

Sheep cheese is another fantastic source of chock-full with the same healthy protein. Like its goat counterpart, sheep cheese can make your gut happy thanks to its richness in A2 casein.

This variety often boasts a richer flavor profile, too. So, sheep cheese may be worth exploring if you're looking for an upgrade from traditional cheeses while still caring for your digestive health.

The Case of Cow's Milk Cheese

There's a lot of chatter about cow's milk cheese. Some folks adore it, while others steer clear of it like the plague. But what’s going on with this dairy delight?

Cow’s milk cheese can be pretty misleading. Many assume that because it comes from cows, it must contain A2 casein - a protein easier for some to digest than its cousin, A1 casein.

But here's where things get interesting: not all cow’s milk cheeses are equal. Unless you see "A2" mentioned explicitly on the label, chances are high that your favorite cheddar or gouda is an A1 casein variety.

This might seem trivial, but understanding the difference between these two types of proteins could have significant implications for those dealing with digestive issues or allergies.

So next time you reach for that slice of Brie or block of Parmesan in your fridge, remember to check the label.

Human digestive system illustration

Navigating Dairy Choices for Optimal Digestive Health

Knowing the casein content of your dairy can make a world of difference in how your body reacts. Cow's milk cheese can vary significantly in composition, particularly concerning the presence of A1 or A2 casein, which can cause digestive issues for sensitive people.

Cow's milk cheese might be tasty, but unless it’s labeled as containing A2 casein, you're likely consuming the more inflammatory A1 version. This little detail can lead to digestive discomfort if you have sensitivities or allergies.

Recent studies suggest that opting for goat or sheep cheese, both rich sources of A2 casein, could help maintain better gut health.

When choosing dairy products like yogurt and milk, look out for those made from goat's or sheep's milk instead of cows'. These choices give an exciting twist to your meals and support good digestion. Make sure labels specify "A2" so you know what type of protein is inside.

To wrap up, while navigating through the sea of dairy options at your grocery store may seem daunting initially, these tips will surely steer you towards making optimal choices for digestive health.

Cheese from Sheep Milk

Sheep milk cheese is a delightful and nutritious dairy product with unique qualities and flavors. Unlike cow's milk, sheep's milk has certain advantages, making its cheese a sought-after choice.

Sheep milk benefits from a more prosperous composition of nutrients and healthy fats, including higher calcium levels, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals.

This abundance of nutrients contributes to the distinct taste of sheep milk cheese and offers potential health advantages to those who consume it.

The taste profile of cheese from sheep milk is often described as robust and full-bodied, with a slightly sweet and nutty undertone. This distinctive flavor and its creamy texture make sheep milk cheese a gourmet delight for cheese connoisseurs.

Whether you enjoy it on a cheese platter, in salads, or as a topping for your favorite dishes, cheese from sheep milk can elevate your culinary experience while providing the nutritional benefits of this unique dairy source.


Not all dairy products are the same; the type of casein protein they contain can significantly impact digestive health. Understanding lactose intolerance and milk allergies is the first step toward better digestive health.

The type of casein protein in your dairy can make a big difference, too. A1 casein has been linked with inflammation and potentially even type 1 diabetes, especially when introduced early.

A2 casein, on the other hand, found abundantly in goat cheese and sheep cheese, could be just what you need for optimal digestion. Be careful, though; cow's milk cheese might not always have this version unless specifically labeled so.

Navigating through these options isn't easy, but knowledge about these proteins helps choose the best dairy for digestive health.

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