Dairy Free Diet

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A woman in her kitchen belnding smoothies
Some people find dairy products really hard to digest or have a dairy or lactose (the sugar in milk) intolerance. Follow our dairy free advice and diet plan to help you maintain a healthy diet.

What is it?

Experts reckon the human body only learnt to digest cow's milk a few thousand years ago. That might explain why so many people still find dairy products hard to digest even today. A dairy free diet is where you avoid anything that contains milk-based products such as yoghurt, cheese and cream.

There are two main reasons why people would follow a dairy free diet. If you're allergic to cow's milk, a dairy free diet will prevent allergic reactions like rashes, vomiting and even anaphylactic shock.

If you're lactose intolerant, it means your body struggles to break down lactose, the natural sugar found in milk. By cutting out dairy products, your digestion and general health will improve.

Who is it good for?

There's a big difference between people who are just allergic to cow's milk and people who are actually lactose intolerant.
One in a hundred babies is allergic to cow's milk, by far the most common childhood allergy. While some people will grow out of this, others will remain allergic to milk as adults.

The symptoms of a milk allergy include rashes, vomiting and, in extreme, cases, anaphylactic shock which causes breathing problems.

Lactose intolerance, however, affects around one in seven people in the UK. Lactose intolerant people will feel very uncomfortable between 30 minutes and two hours after eating dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurts. Symptoms include bloating, nausea, cramps, wind and diarrhoea. If you notice any of these problems, visit your GP who can run some simple tests to find out what's wrong.

Everything that doesn't include dairy and the milk-free alternative foods that are now sold in most big supermarkets. Milk and yoghurts made from soya and rice are just as tasty and won't upset your stomach. Try Rice Dream Original on your cornflakes or Alpro Soya yoghurts poured over fruit. You can buy a soya spread to use instead of butter or margarine.

Typical day's diet

Breakfast: Shredded wheat with soya/rice milk, 2 slices wholemeal bread with non-dairy spread.
Lunch: Homemade vegtable soup, chicken salad, fruit.
Dinner: Tuna Risotto, veg, fruit based sorbet.
Snacks: Dried apricots, nuts.

Top tip

Certain ethnic groups are much more likely to be lactose intolerant than others. According to the NHS, only 10 per cent of Northern Europeans are lactose intolerant compared with 75 per cent of Afro-Caribbean people and 95 per cent of Asian people.

Join our Diet Club

Check out our calorie controlled, Dairy-free Diet Club plan and use our team of health experts to guide you towards a healthy, well-balanced dairy free diet. Join now and get 4 weeks free

Find out more

Visit your doctor to find out if you're allergic or intolerant to dairy products. Never put your child on a dairy free diet without consulting your GP first.

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I have been advised by my doctor to go on a dairy free diet could you please send me a dairy free diet sheet to see if this will help with my health problems

Karen Hunt

Hi I have been advised by my doctor to avoid dairy and bread to see if this helps with my health issues. I am really struggling to find stuff to eat. Would it be possible for you to also send me a Dairy Free Diet Sheet Please?? Thank you


i'd like a dairy free diet sheet please. I want to lose weight but also suffer from IBS. thanks


I have very bad psoriasis..and have undergone various treatments including ultra lighting (that just burnt me)have been on a course of Methtraxate (which I beleive made me worse the more higher level i was on)I am now back to using steroid creams (which does not help the weight problem)have cleared the shelves with other creams here and abroad..was told try cutting out all dairy products!!!worth a try so can you suggest things I can eat in place of dairy i also would like to lose a bit of weight..Many thanks in anticipation.


You can try for some great dairy and egg free cake recipes, they also have a free recipe for Lemon Biscuits which was really tasty!

Alison Bower

My son has bad eczema and is possibly allergic to cows milk. I am still breastfeeding him and have been asked to follow a dairy free diet. Can you please help?


Id like a dairy free healthy diet plan i can follow for a moth please

julia barrow

my son was born 3 months premature with a number of medical problems and he had to under 3 operations within the first 6months of his life. One of the problems he has is Short Gut Syndrome. He is also on a no dairy, no wheat and no gluten diet. Are there any other cereals i can give him apart from Ready Break. For dinner he has Halal food for vegetarians. (It doest'nt contain the things he should'nt have). Could you please tell me what else I could give him. Thankyou


I would like a dairy free and protein sheet as I am about to undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer and have heard that a dairy free diet may help in preventing hair loss during therapy. Thanks


I would like a dairy free and protein diet sheet that I could follow. I dont want to loose weight I want to put on. thanks

leanne jones

id like a diet sheet on dairy free plz

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