Lactose-free milk makes me gassy, what's going on?

My gut has been getting steadily worse over the past 3-4 years. First I developed gluten sensitivity, then lactose intolerance. Put bluntly, milk makes me burp. I didn't think anything of it for a while, I thought it was more of an inconvience than anything else. I was sure it was the lactose because it's only lactose containing dairy that's the problem. Cheese and cream are fine. I've been minimising the amount of milk for about a year anyway, I only have it in one cup of coffee per day, but finally decided to take the plunge and cut lactose out completely. To ease the transition, I bought lactose free milk... and lactose free milk makes me burp just as much as the regular sort.

What on earth is going on?

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11 Replies

  • Hi poing,

    I too have a burping problem after (and even during) drinking coffee with milk - lactose-free or not, but I can drink both tea and hot chocolate made with either and have no probs. I've never really figured this out and can only assume it's simply that coffee and milk mixed together don't suit me for some reason.


  • Strange. Could it be the quantity of milk? I get burping from milk in tea as well as in coffee though - although I have moreoreless given up tea for other reasons anyway.

    I think the burping is the result of SIBO... which is more than "just an inconvenience". Ho hum. The burp can take anything from 5 minutes to 45 minutes to appear - I suppose that depends on how many fermenting organisms are hanging around.

    Hubby has regular milk and I suppose it's possible that the drinks got mixed up. Tomorrow we'll both have the lactose free kind and see what happens!

  • Yes, it's bit of a weird one this, don't think it depends on the quantity of milk for me as I only have the same amount in coffee as I do in tea, and much more in hot chocolate with no burping at all.

    Are you taking antbiotics for the SIBO?

    Have you tried almond/soya (yuck)/ coconut milk instead?

  • Yes, I've been using stuff like almond, coconut and hemp milk for a while, although I've pretty much quit eating breakfast cereal so my need for them isn't great. I tend to go for coconut milk in drinks, but it's not quite right in coffee...

    I've got a doctor's appointment tomorrow, and will see what they say about SIBO... I've had coeliac and crohn's ruled out, and then the gastro dropped me like a hot potato, so I'm not holding out much hope.

    I'm trying herbal stuff like peppermint oil, garlic and pineapple enzymes at the moment. They seem to be a little bit helpful, but I think the fact that I keep feeding the microbes is not helping. Got to get that one pinned down.

  • I had to push really hard to get a SIBO test done, but got there eventually. I didn't have it, but it's always a very real possibility, so do stand your ground on this one.

  • Burping can be down to excess acid in your diet, avoid tomatoes, red meat and citrus for a while see if that helps, also coffee is a gut irritant..I think if you are fine with cream then its unlikely to be the milk causing your problems, just a hunch!

  • Coffee is high in FODMAPs so having lactose-free milk in your coffee is still going to cause gas. Another protein found in milk is casein which some people can develop an intolerance to. Perhaps worth checking that oit?

  • Pretty sure it's a problem with lactose not casein, as it's only milk that I have an issue with, not cream or cheese. Also, only carbs can be fermented into gas, not proteins so casein is unlikely to be the direct culprit. I'm pretty sure this is a problem with carbs not proteins.

    I am gluten sensitive but have never shown any signs of cross reactivity with milk - the symptoms of being glutened are completely different to the burping problem. I have another food sensitivity, to baker's yeast, and that affects me in a similar way to gluten.

    I've thought about FODMAPs a fair bit recently. However, I only have one small espresso, which is about 30 ml, and contains much less in the way of FODMAPs than either filter or instant coffee. If it were the galactans in coffee, then lentils would also make me burp... and I don't think they do.

    It's good to think of these things from all angles... hope you don't mind me thinking aloud on screen.

  • This sounds a bit like my saga, I ended up having a food intolerance test done which showed up that I had gut candida as well as intolerances to cows milk, onions, cashews,soya, corn and eggs. I had identified the milk one myself and had substituted soya, was following a gluten free diet on the advice of my doctor and was eating corn cakes so was adding to my problems not solving them. I have been following the dietary advice of a dietician and taking a regimen of supplements for the last 6 months with excellent results.

  • Hi just wondered what test you had done?

  • As far as I recall it was the YorkTest one but there are several out there.

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