Does Drinking Milk Cause Allergies?

Recently, we received a few questions about milk related to allergies and why humans are the only mammals that drink milk. To find out more, we spoke with Dr. Stephan Taylor, Professor of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Dr. Ann Macrina, Research and Teaching Associate at Penn State.

Does drinking milk and using other dairy products tend to cause allergies in children?

Dr. Taylor:

Milk allergies, yes of course. It is impossible to become allergic to milk if you are never exposed. The allergy is caused by drinking milk from a different species, i.e. cow’s milk.

Why are we the only mammals that drink milk after we are weaned from our mothers?

Dr. Macrina:

The simple answer is: because we can. It is a food that’s available to us. During the hunter-gatherer times people consumed what was available. With the domestication of cattle, milk was another product that became available. Milk is a nutritious food – in addition to calcium, it contains a good amount of magnesium and potassium, two minerals that most people don’t consume in sufficient quantities. It also contains high-quality protein and some of the fatty acids in milk have health-promoting effects. If you’re trying to reduce fat intake, you can always opt for low fat or skim varieties.

If you wish to learn more, or have questions, feel free to submit a question to the experts!

Milk Splash” by Benjamin Horn is licensed under CC BY.