Often milk alternatives can be used in cooking or baking just like dairy milk. But, since some of them are sweet, you may need to reduce other sweet ingredients in a recipe. The next time you're in the mood to experiment in the kitchen, try to replace part or all of the dairy milk in a recipe with a non-flavored milk alternative instead.
They don't contain casein, the main protein found in milk, making them suitable for people with a cow's milk allergy. Milk alternatives are also naturally lactose free. Lactose is the sugar in cow's milk that many people are unable to digest. If you're not sure what the difference between a true milk allergy and lactose intolerance is, see the sidebar.
Even if you don't have an allergy and you currently consume milk or lactose-reduced dairy milk, don't think of milk alternatives as replacements. Rather, use milk alternatives as additional, nutritious beverages.
What is a milk allergy?
A true milk allergy involves an abnormal response of your immune system. An allergic reaction typically involves many parts of your body, such as swelling, hives, rash, nasal congestion, asthma, nausea, diarrhea or gas.
Lactose intolerance, often confused with an allergic reaction, doesn't involve the immune system. It occurs due to an inability to digest the milk sugar called lactose. Symptoms of lactose intolerance vary but generally include cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea and nausea. Your healthcare provider can help evaluate and diagnose if you have an intolerance or allergy.