The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

What are the reasons for excluding milk or dairy from the diet?

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Individuals and certain populations exclude milk and dairy from their diets for a variety of reasons. Present-day consumers are more aware of health and nutritional benefits, and the environmental impact of the foods that they purchase and consume. Excessive exposure to ever-changing food choices and the advertisements accompanying them may confuse and overwhelm consumers. This confusion can cause consumers to discard whole food groups in their search for healthy, pure, environmentally friendly foods.

Consumers often list the following reasons for avoiding milk and dairy intake:

  • Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA)
  • Lactose (the sugar naturally occurring in milk) intolerance, which is generally self-diagnosed and not confirmed by laboratory testing
  • Saturated fat content
  • Cultural beliefs or preferences
  • Dietary preferences, i.e. vegan, flexitarian, or paleo diet
  • Beliefs such as prevention of cruelty to animals or environmental degradation (this could lead to exclusion of all foods derived from animals)

Unfortunately, the names of many plant-based alternatives to milk include the word “milk”, which may lead the public to believe that they are buying and drinking products that are similar to cow’s milk. They believe that they are reaping the same nutritional benefits from plant-based beverages, as those found in cow’s milk. This is usually not the case, as illustrated below.

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