Why can I eat feta and goat cheese, but no other dairy??

topic posted Tue, February 15, 2005 - 5:14 PM by  jessress
I have been wheat and dairy-free for over 2 years now. For some reason, I can eat a little feta, sheep, goat or cow. I can also eat soft goat chesse, not hard goat cheese though.

I am not alergic, but intolerant. I have to use these cheeses sparingly, or I get sick.

I have heard of other people who have similar experiences. Any theories?
posted by:
SF Bay Area
  • My only theory is that every body is unique. Many people are intolerant of dairy. In fact, I think that most humans are, but just don't want to acknowledge it. Here's an interesting one... I am intolerant to soy. It doesn't make me sick, it just makes me break out. I hear that is a somewhat common one... I try to avoid it except in small amounts.

    Do what feels right for your body. Only you know what will cause you pain, and what makes you feel healthy. My only theory is that we all need to find the right equilibrium for our very unique bodies.... Hope that helps!

    Anybody else have more concrete information on food intolerance as opposed to true food allergy?
  • Unsu...
    I am 17 and have been lactose intolerant since I first hit puberty. The reason that you can eat some cheeses and not others is due to the levels of lactose in the products. There is a very high level in ice cream and milk. There is very little, however, in highly processed cheeses.
    • Well, there is a difference between dairy allergy and lactose intolerance... Big time. The reason some people can eat sheep and goat's milk is because the proteins - though they are similar - are not the same. Lactose intolerance is a whole nother thing.... Lactose is the sugar in the milk, and people with true allergies are allergic to the proteins. You can take the sugar out, but it is very difficult for most food manufacturers and even scientists to completely take the proteins out of these foods.

      I'm not disagreeing with your reasoning behind the lactose thing... just clarifying the difference between an intolerance and true allergy.
      • Heide is right. I am not intolerant or allergic myself, but I'm a breastfeeding mom of a baby who can't tolerate cow's milk. When I eat any cow's milk dairy and then breastfeed him, he get's really sick. It is not the lactose that is a problem, it is the protein. There is a special enzyme in our stomachs (or in some people's stomachs) that aid in the digestion of this protein found in milk. My baby and probably many of you do not have this enzyme or enough of it, to properly digest cow's milk proteins.

        When our pediatrician first suspected the problem (he had been really sick & we didn't know why), she had us feed him a hypoalergenic infant formula. It had lactose, but did not have the milk-protein. It was essentially pre-digested milk. It smells & tastes awful and is very expensive. So, they probably could process dairy foods for adults in this way too, but I don't think we'd want them. The process would be difficult and thus the products would be very expensive and they too would probably be very unappealing!
  • A lot of people who cannot eat cow dairy can have goat and sheep dairy without any problems.
    I've read that it has to do with molecule size.
    People's digestive systems are designed to be able to deal with the molecules of human breast milk. The molecules of Goat's milk and sheep's milk are approximately the same size as those in breast milk. Conversely, the molecule size of cow's milk is huge. Picture a ping pong ball next to a small car, there's the difference.

    As for why you cannot have hard goat cheese, that could be an allergy to the culture used in making the cheese- there are hundreds of cheeses, and hundreds of molds and bacterias used to make cheese. Most people are sensitive to at least a few of them, and the sensitivities can manifest in different ways.

    Also, consider that humans are the only animals that drink milk past infancy. If no other animals do it, should we be doing it??