Milk is considered to be part of a balanced and healthy diet. However, depending on your tolerance, it may or may not worsen acid reflux symptoms.
But, does milk really trigger or remedy acid reflux?
Over the years, there has been no strong evidence linking milk as a trigger for acid reflux. However, high-fat foods have been known to digest slowly in the body and thus worsening acid reflux.
Also, certain ingredients that are often mixed with milk like chocolate ease the muscle between the esophagus and stomach. As a result, triggering acid reflux.
What happens in your body when you drink milk?
Growing up, milk was always so hyped up. Adults always said, if you want strong bones, drink a glass of milk every day. But, what happens when you drink a glass of milk?
For starters, similar to other foods, milk stays in the stomach for a while waiting to be digested.
During this period, the enzymes in milk start to denature into proteins for easy absorption.
The result of this process is the production of gastric lipase whose size will depend on the fat content of the milk.
After the molecules are broken down, the enzymes go to the smaller intestine, and polypeptides and amino acids are absorbed.
If you are sensitive to milk, however, the process will be a bit different.
Because your body is unable to produce enough lactase, the enzymes from the milk won’t be fully broken down, and will be passed to the lower digestive tract.
Of course, this isn’t where it’s supposed to be and that’s why you may experience stomach ache, diarrhea or bloating.
There are different types of milk, depending on the one you drink, the effects can vary. Let’s look at the three most common types of milk and their benefits.
Full-fat cow milk vs goat milk vs plant-based milk
Full fat cow milk
This type of milk is rich in calcium, protein, and B-vitamins.
The calcium will ensure your bones are healthy, whereas the proteins will aid maintain lean muscle mass.
Unlike cow milk, goat milk contains less lactose. It is also more nutritionally dense.
With every cup of goat milk you take, you are downing 168 calories. This is a bit too high if you are on a low-calorie diet.
Nonetheless, it’s an excellent source of protein, carbs, calcium, vitamin D, and fat. Kindly note that the test of goat milk highly depends on the breed and processing.
These days plant-based milk is becoming more popular.
When you visit your favorite supermarket, you are likely to find a line-up of almond, soy, coconut, and cashew milk amongst others.
One of the reasons why you should consider plant-based milk is if you are lactose intolerant.
With these types of milk, you get nearly all the nutrients such as protein, calcium, and vitamins.
It’s imperative that you look at the nutrient content of a plant-based milk before buying it. Because there are some which fall short regarding the availability of nutrients.
Acid reflux and lactose intolerance
Before we go any further, you need to know that the medical community doesn’t consider dairy products as a cause of acid reflux.
If you are lactose intolerant, you may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and vomiting, which may seem a bit similar to those of acid reflux.
With that being said, you should also keep in mind that high-fat foods may worsen acid reflux.
The likes of full fat cow milk should be avoided by people with lactose intolerance. A good alternative is a plant-based milk such as the ones listed above.
Avoiding dairy products altogether isn’t such a good idea because you will be denying your body essential nutrients. There are plenty of alternatives out there.
The bottom line is, despite milk not being considered an acid reflux trigger, if you experience side effects, you should avoid high-fat dairy products, and opt for alternatives that offer similar nutrients.