Milk Q & A

Does milk cause mucus? Does yogurt minimize digestive problems? Find the answers to these questions and many more!

If I have lactose intolerance, can I still drink milk?

Yes! Try these tips:

  • Have small amounts of milk throughout the day instead of a whole glass at one time (60–125 mL or 1/4–1/2 cup).
  • Try chocolate or other flavoured milk. They are digested more slowly by your body.
  • Drink milk with meals or snacks, not by itself.
  • Drink lactose-free milks such as Lactaid™, Lacteeze™. You’ll find these milks in the dairy case at grocery stores.
  • Ask a pharmacist for lactase tablets or drops such as Lactaid™, Lacteeze™ or a generic brand. They work to break down the lactose in milk for you. Be sure to follow package directions when using these products.
  • Try yogurt.
  • Try mozzarella and aged cheeses like cheddar, swiss, blue, brie, etc. They contain almost no lactose.


Who can have lactose intolerance?

It is most common in adults of First Nation, African or Asian background.

It can happen for a short time if you have stomach flu or diarrhea. It can also happen while taking certain medications (especially antibiotics).

It is rare in young children.

It is more common in older adults.


What is lactose intolerance?

Milk contains a natural sugar called ‘lactose’. Some people can’t digest large amounts of lactose at one time. This isn’t dangerous, but can cause gas, stomach bloating, or diarrhea.


If I drink chocolate milk, am I still getting the same nutritional value as from white milk?

Chocolate milk, like other flavoured milks, has a nutritional value equivalent to white milk. It will have a higher energy content if sugar is added.


Is low fat yogurt lower in calories?

Not necessarily. In some cases, it might be the sugar content, not the fat, that adds calories. Always check the label.


I’ve heard that yogurt minimizes some digestive problems. Is this true?

Yes. Lactic acid cultures in yogurt produce substances which actually prevent disease-causing bacteria from multiplying in the intestinal tract.


I’ve heard that some lactose intolerant people can, in fact, drink milk. Is that true?

Yes. Many lactose intolerant people can drink milk. In some people, the body lacks sufficient enzyme to digest the natural sugar (lactose) present in milk, but each individual has a unique level of tolerance. Smaller servings consumed with meals throughout the day are more easily tolerated, as is warm milk or milk at room temperature. Whole milk seems easier to digest than skim milk. In addition, lactose-reduced milks are available in many stores.


Does it matter whether I get my calcium from milk or say, from broccoli?

No. However, you must eat 1125 mL (4 1/2 cups) of broccoli to get the same amount of calcium as in 250 mL (1 cup) of whole milk.


Are milk products high in fat or calories?

Many people mistakenly believe they have to cut out milk products in order to eat less fat or fewer calories. In fact, it is surprising how few calories and little fat milk products contribute to the diet. Skim milk has virtually no fat but contains all the nutrients found in other milks.


Does milk cause mucus?

Studies have shown that drinking milk and eating milk products does not cause mucus production. However, higher-fat milks and soy beverages may create the illusion that there is more mucus in the mouth due to their full-bodied texture. Drinking 1% or skim milk may reduce this perception.


Does yogurt contain active culture?

Yes, yogurts in the BC marketplace all contain active culture. The culture is added after pasteurization.

About BC Dairy

BC Dairy is a not-for-profit organization representing BC’s dairy farmers.