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Dairy Trouble: A Guide

For those of you who are having some trouble with dairy but are unsure as to what may be the cause, here are a few suggestions for ways to pinpoint what’s okay and what isn’t.

Most symptoms are likely to be caused by lactose or casein or both. Casein, however, comes in two forms and so you have to determine whether you react to both or just one of the forms of casein. You may also want to consider the raw versus pasteurized question as some report better tolerance of raw dairy products.


Casein can be either A1 or A2. It has been argued by some that the A1 casein that makes the bulk of the protein in cow’s milk is more allergenic via a weak bond that allows it to give off casomorphins. In any case, A1 is a new variant and A2 is an older variant that less people are reactive to. Most store bought cow’s milk is going to be A1 dominant, Jersey milk will be about half and half and Guernsey will be mostly A2. Other animals have only A2 protein in their milk (including humans). I suggest that to test casein tolerance you first try goat’s milk cheese which will only have A2 casein. If there is no reaction then move on to cow’s milk cheese to see if you have a reaction to A1 casein.


Lactose is the milk sugar that many have difficulty digesting due to a lack of the lactase enzyme. Some allege that raw milk is more digestible since it contains more enzymes. I suggest that once you have dealt with the casein issue that you move on to trying raw goat or cow milk (depending on the results of your casein challenges) to see if you react to lactose.

Raw versus Pasteurized

With dairy products there may be a benefit of consuming raw over pasteurized in the sense that the nutrition will have undergone less denaturing and removal of probiotic bacteria and enzymes. In dairy challenges, I thus recommend trying the raw variant before the pasteurized variant.

High fat dairy (ghee, butter, cream, sour cream, cream cheese) will, in general, have very low levels of both casein and lactose so you may be able to use these without trouble, depending upon how sensitive you are, even if you fail the casein and lactose challenges. According to nutrition data these are the following percentages:

Butter: 1% protein

Heavy Whipping Cream: 3% protein, 3% carbohydrate

Sour cream: 5% protein, 5% carbohydrate

Cream cheese: 7% protein, 5% carbohydrate

As for yogurt, because it has been cultured it may digest more easily than other foods you are reactive to. You’ll just have to test it separately and find out. There are some yogurts and kefirs out there that have no lactose or extremely low lactose so you may seek those out if that is your problem. The average given by nutrition data for macronutrient breakdown is 29% carbohydrates and 24% protein so keep that in mind for more common yogurt products.

Sample Introduction Schedule:

Raw goat cheese

Pasteurized goat cheese

Raw cow cheese

Pasteurized cow cheese

Raw milk

Pasteurized milk



Filed under: casein, cheese, dairy, goat milk, guide, lactose, ,