Casein Vs Gluten: Which is Better?

Casein Vs Gluten
Medically Reviewed
April 13, 2015

If you didn’t know what gluten was five years ago, you probably do now. That is why today we will be having a battle of Casein Vs Gluten to find out which is better.

These days, it’s nearly impossible to go to a grocery store or out to dinner without hearing someone mention “gluten.”

For the record (since most of us don’t know what it is, just that we don’t want to eat it), gluten is a group of “sticky” proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and their derivatives.

It’s become one of the latest food trends, as millions of Americans are looking to “go gluten-free.”

Despite what cynics (and maybe your Uncle Joe) might say, gluten is a cause of pain and discomfort for millions of people and isn’t a “made up thing.”

As awareness of the negative health effects of gluten has increased, people who had been previously undiagnosed with conditions like Celiac disease are finally getting help and feeling better.

Other people who may not have full-blown gluten intolerance suffer from symptoms of gluten sensitivity, which can include “foggy mind”, depression, ADHD-like behavior, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, and chronic fatigue. They find that going gluten-free has caused their symptoms to lessen or go away completely.

But what if gluten isn’t the only issue?

What if there is another protein in a food most people eat multiple times a day that is causing even more damage to our bodies?

What if that food has had a “health halo,” so to speak, since we were kids?

What if that food was…milk?

Stay with me on this one.

When most people hear that I’m dairy-free, they look at me as though I just told them I came from another planet. And it totally makes sense that we’d have such a visceral reaction to not eating dairy.

Milk was the first food many of us ever ate. It reminds us of being nourished and comforted. It connected us to our mother.  Human breast milk is a perfectly healthy food and there’s nothing better for a growing baby to eat than mother’s milk.

Milk is an emotional food.

It’s rich and creamy and packed with calcium that we need to grow big and strong like Superman…right?

That’s what we’ve been told.  But what about cow’s milk? We’re the only species that consumes the milk of another animal past weaning.

What if the very food we’ve been told to eat and drink to be healthy is harming us and making us sick?

Despite what many people claim, it’s not just the lactose (the sugar) in milk that’s troublesome. It’s the protein – “casein” – that’s often the source of so much discomfort for millions of people.

Next to gluten, casein is the second most common food allergen in our diet, yet most of us eat it every day and pass off symptoms associated with it as “seasonal allergies” or common colds.

Casein is one of the primary protein found in many of our favorite dairy-based comfort foods – from milk and ice cream to yogurt, pizza, and macaroni & cheese.

Symptoms of casein sensitivity include acne, asthma, eczema, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, runny nose, congestion, recurrent “colds,” coughing, sinus infections, irritability, migraine headaches, anxiety, and even ADHD.

Dr. Mark Hyman, Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, has written extensively about the harmful effects of dairy products on his website.  His articles, “Got Proof? Lack of Evidence for Milk’s Benefits” and “Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It At All Costs” are worth reading if you want to learn more about this topic.

This topic hits close to home for me because I was one of those kids who grew up with chronic ear/nose/throat issues – adenoids and tonsils removed, strep throat, and chronic ear infections. I took more rounds of antibiotics than I can remember.

As a young adult, my symptoms morphed (as can be the case with food allergies), and I experienced frequent post-nasal drip, sinus congestion, bronchitis, and acid reflux.

I took medicine for acid reflux every single day for almost ten years, starting my Junior year in college. I wrote about the 8 steps I took to heal reflux naturally in this blog post.

Fortunately, I learned several years ago about the ill effects of dairy products and cut them out of my diet. My congestion, breakouts, postnasal drip, bronchitis, ear infections, and reflux went away.

All of them. I’ve had to experience it myself to believe it was possible.

As a health coach, health educator, and dairy-free blogger, I’ve learned how to enjoy a dairy-free diet and find delicious alternatives to all of the foods we’re told we “can’t eat” when going dairy-free.

I wish more people knew how significant removing even ONE trigger food from their diet could be.

It wasn’t until a recent visit to Nava that I was finally tested for gluten and casein sensitivities through their comprehensive wellness testing and found that, sure enough, my body is clinically sensitive to both gluten and casein.

Are you curious about how you could feel without casein in your diet?

  1. Schedule an appointment with Nava to get tested.
  2. Check out for resources about how to eliminate dairy from your diet and find tasty alternatives.
  3. Head on over to my blog for nourishing and delicious recipes, all of which are made with no gluten and no dairy. They are all hubby-approved and have been taste tested on dozens of friends, family members, and followers.