Eliminating dairy from your diet

Updated: Jan 31



Lactose intolerance can be managed well by avoiding dairy products and by taking lactase supplements. Food labels can feel completely overwhelming, especially if you've just discovered you have an sensitivity to a certain common ingredient.


To eliminate dairy from your diet, be sure to consider obvious sources (e.g. milk) as well as hidden, common sources where you will need to read food labels. Here are items you should be sure to avoid completely:

  • Milk, Cream, Half-and-Half (I'm sorry, that also means even a little bit in tea or coffee)

  • Butter

  • Yogurt or kefir

  • Sour cream

  • Creamy salad dressings (e.g. blue cheese, ranch, thousand island)

  • Creamy sauces

  • Cream-based soups or chowders

  • Cottage cheese and cream cheese

  • Most muffins, scones, cookies, cake

  • Definitely puddings, custard and related desserts (crème brûlée, key lime pie, lemon meringue pie) as well as nougat (in most candy bars)

  • Ice cream

  • All cheeses (includes those from cow or goat milk)

It's important to also consider what dishes contain these ingredients. For example, pizza or lasagna at a restaurant, or mashed potatoes most likely contain one or more of those listed ingredients.


Most challenging is when you're eating out or grabbing takeout and you're not sure if the item was made with any dairy products. When in doubt, simply ask the restaurant if the dish is dairy-free or if it can be made dairy free.


Another way to identify possible dairy ingredients is to look for the kosher symbols on the package. A “D” next to the OU symbol indicates that the food is classified as a dairy product for people who keep kosher.

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