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Mucus-causing foods

by (8858)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:16 PM
Created November 30, 2010 at 8:23 PM

I've read that milk products cause excessive mucus production. In my case, I am loathe to give up butter, heavy cream, and hard cheeses (parmesan! cheddar!) but I wonder if this might be for the best in terms of alleviating excess mucus. Has anyone had problems with mucus buildup (dry mucus in the nose, throaty phlegm) that responded to elimination of dairy? Could eggs be the culprit? Haven't done the elimination route yet, because I do get significant calories from dairy.

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15966 · December 01, 2010 at 6:25 PM

ive been off dairy for about six months. I still use kerrygold butter but thats it. However, reading your comment re goats', hearing even robb wolf mention that his own reaction to goats' is benign, and hearing others anecdotally mention the same im really thinking of bringing some Chevre back into my diet. If for nothing else than some good creamy variety in our meals. Ive tried different cows' and i always get a zit. always.

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6157 · December 01, 2010 at 5:11 AM

Milk and cream are definitely the worst for me, even raw and grass-fed. Cheese is probably ok. You'll have to experiment for yourself, though. You may be more or less sensitive.

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6157 · December 01, 2010 at 5:09 AM

No, my dairy cheats = large volumes of ice cream. =) I think butter is unproblematic except for very sensitive individuals.

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1303 · December 01, 2010 at 2:33 AM

I stand by the A1 vs A2 theory simply because my husband and I no longer have any mucus or milk related sinus problems since switching to Dutch Belted and Jersey milk. It used to be extremely bad for both of us before the switch. However, I've only had Dutch Belted and Jersey milk in raw or VAT pasteurized form, which may make a difference.

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9647 · December 01, 2010 at 2:28 AM

Aha, that's interesting, thank you.

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11478 · December 01, 2010 at 2:08 AM

@WCC Paul, thank you for your kind words. I would speculate that the reason cheese is less mucus-inducing has to do with the short time the antigens are exposed to the pharynx. Hard cheeses are completely in the solid phase, so the antigens are "locked-up" and not as irritating to the throat. Milk and cream, however, are in the liquid/suspension phase, which is more volatile and exposes more antigen molecules to the throat. However, if you're not allergic to some component of the milk, then I have no idea what the answer to your question is.

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9647 · November 30, 2010 at 11:40 PM

Also, good catch on "mucus" versus "mucous". The first is the noun, the second is the adjective.

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9647 · November 30, 2010 at 11:39 PM

But I'm skeptical. When I drink cream, I afterwards feel the congestion coming down *from my sinuses* into my throat. And unless I've been laughing so that the cream was coming up through my nose, I don't see how it could have gotten up there. (And stayed there for 30-60 minutes.) See what I mean? Looks like there's a paleohacks question in there somewhere.

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9647 · November 30, 2010 at 11:37 PM

Ed, that's a good thread. And your answer there is good, and reminds me of a question I've been thinking about. Casein sensitivity (allergy? intolerance?) leads to all kinds of problems, including congestion; but lactose intolerance generally leads only to digestive problems. So why is it that we get more congestion from milk and cream than we do from cheese, if there's plenty of casein in cheese but no lactose? The link you posted on the other thread suggests an answer: that doctor's research suggests we just *think* there is more mucus production, but there isn't. [Continued]

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4
9647 · November 30, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Ed, that's a good thread. Your answer there is good, and raises a question I've been thinking about: casein sensitivity (allergy? intolerance?) leads to all kinds of symptoms, which can include congestion; but lactose intolerance generally just lea

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64
11478 · November 30, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Here's one more relevant previous Paleohacks thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/4691/should-i-stop-eating-cheese#axzz16nwI2sYu

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8858 · November 30, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Does a dairy "cheat" include butter? Did reductions produce improvements or did you need to completely eliminate?

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be
8858 · November 30, 2010 at 9:15 PM

Great answer. I will start, I think, by using the parmesan in cooking only. Same with the cream. I had been using heavy cream and coffee; that's my biggest exposure. If it's a dose-dependent response, then I should know.

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9647 · November 30, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Yes. Mucus and inflammation in my sinuses went down significantly when I cut (by about 90%) cream, yogurt, and cheese. It was like flipping a switch. I still eat butter, though for some people (depending on what the irritant is) it might be better to cut back to just clarified butter, or just goat butter, or get rid of dairy altogether. When I do eat cream, yogurt, or cheese, it is in small amounts and mixed with other food: a little (raw-milk) cheese on a burger, a little cream in my Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, a little side dish of full-fat yogurt with nuts and cinnamon.

So I think it's worth giving a try cutting out dairy altogether, but you might also see positive effects from cutting everything but butter -- that way you can still get some of those calories from dairy. And you might also see positive effects from cutting non-butter dairy without fully eliminating it, and from mixing with other foods. That way you can still taste your delicious parmesans every once in a while. But again, complete elimination may be best.

Check out these earlier paleohacks questions:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/13709/is-it-useful-to-decrease-dairy-instead-of-eliminating

http://paleohacks.com/questions/427/a1-vs-a2-casein

http://paleohacks.com/questions/4646/casein-intolerance

And look at this page too, it was mentioned in that first question:

http://failsafediet.wordpress.com/the-rpah-elimination-diet-failsafe/gluten-and-casein-responders/

It will tell you about different stages of reduction and help you plan out how you might do a self-experimentation.

E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350
1303 · December 01, 2010 at 2:33 AM

I stand by the A1 vs A2 theory simply because my husband and I no longer have any mucus or milk related sinus problems since switching to Dutch Belted and Jersey milk. It used to be extremely bad for both of us before the switch. However, I've only had Dutch Belted and Jersey milk in raw or VAT pasteurized form, which may make a difference.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4
9647 · December 01, 2010 at 2:28 AM

Aha, that's interesting, thank you.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64
11478 · December 01, 2010 at 2:08 AM

@WCC Paul, thank you for your kind words. I would speculate that the reason cheese is less mucus-inducing has to do with the short time the antigens are exposed to the pharynx. Hard cheeses are completely in the solid phase, so the antigens are "locked-up" and not as irritating to the throat. Milk and cream, however, are in the liquid/suspension phase, which is more volatile and exposes more antigen molecules to the throat. However, if you're not allergic to some component of the milk, then I have no idea what the answer to your question is.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4
9647 · November 30, 2010 at 11:40 PM

Also, good catch on "mucus" versus "mucous". The first is the noun, the second is the adjective.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4
9647 · November 30, 2010 at 11:39 PM

But I'm skeptical. When I drink cream, I afterwards feel the congestion coming down *from my sinuses* into my throat. And unless I've been laughing so that the cream was coming up through my nose, I don't see how it could have gotten up there. (And stayed there for 30-60 minutes.) See what I mean? Looks like there's a paleohacks question in there somewhere.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4
9647 · November 30, 2010 at 11:37 PM

Ed, that's a good thread. And your answer there is good, and reminds me of a question I've been thinking about. Casein sensitivity (allergy? intolerance?) leads to all kinds of problems, including congestion; but lactose intolerance generally leads only to digestive problems. So why is it that we get more congestion from milk and cream than we do from cheese, if there's plenty of casein in cheese but no lactose? The link you posted on the other thread suggests an answer: that doctor's research suggests we just *think* there is more mucus production, but there isn't. [Continued]

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4
9647 · November 30, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Ed, that's a good thread. Your answer there is good, and raises a question I've been thinking about: casein sensitivity (allergy? intolerance?) leads to all kinds of symptoms, which can include congestion; but lactose intolerance generally just lea

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64
11478 · November 30, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Here's one more relevant previous Paleohacks thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/4691/should-i-stop-eating-cheese#axzz16nwI2sYu

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be
8858 · November 30, 2010 at 9:15 PM

Great answer. I will start, I think, by using the parmesan in cooking only. Same with the cream. I had been using heavy cream and coffee; that's my biggest exposure. If it's a dose-dependent response, then I should know.

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10 · December 01, 2010 at 9:00 AM

I had large amounts of mucus buildup until I limited my bovine dairy intake. Recently I've discovered that goat's milk doesn't have an impact.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15966 · December 01, 2010 at 6:25 PM

ive been off dairy for about six months. I still use kerrygold butter but thats it. However, reading your comment re goats', hearing even robb wolf mention that his own reaction to goats' is benign, and hearing others anecdotally mention the same im really thinking of bringing some Chevre back into my diet. If for nothing else than some good creamy variety in our meals. Ive tried different cows' and i always get a zit. always.

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18671 · November 30, 2010 at 10:35 PM

This study says no, but I would trust personal experimentation over that.

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241 · November 30, 2010 at 10:34 PM

Yes, eggs could be the culprit. If you are allergic to eggs, then they could cause mucus production. In my case, they cause runny nose and congestion, itchy/tired/allergy eyes and physical exhaustion. (I get so exhausted and grumpy that my young children actively police my temptation to ever eat eggs!) I have eliminated all dairy for various periods, up to a year or more at a time, and have never noticed any problem on consumption. (I'm currently not consuming dairy b/c of trying to lose weight, but am still noticing occasional congestion - suspecting either coconut or bacon.)

I love eggs. I'm really hoping that I'll eventually be able to eat them again. Anyway, YMMV.

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6157 · November 30, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Exactly what Paul said. Yes, personally I have experienced this a reduction in mucus from eliminating dairy, as well as nearly instant congestion brought on by dairy cheats.

You'll have to try it for yourself, and see.

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6157 · December 01, 2010 at 5:11 AM

Milk and cream are definitely the worst for me, even raw and grass-fed. Cheese is probably ok. You'll have to experiment for yourself, though. You may be more or less sensitive.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523
6157 · December 01, 2010 at 5:09 AM

No, my dairy cheats = large volumes of ice cream. =) I think butter is unproblematic except for very sensitive individuals.

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8858 · November 30, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Does a dairy "cheat" include butter? Did reductions produce improvements or did you need to completely eliminate?

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