We know that many Koko Nuts (i.e., you) have different diet and nutritional needs so we thought it was important to offer some information and advice about the main ones. This section has kindly been written for us by Tanya Thomas, a Registered Dietitian, who is a member of the British Dietetic Association.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a common food intolerance characterised by stomach cramping, wind, bloating and diarrhoea after consuming cow’s milk. Lactose is milk sugar and it is broken down by a substance called lactase (an enzyme) in our digestive system. In lactose intolerance not enough lactase is produced so the undigested lactose gets fermented by bacteria. Lactose intolerance may be temporary, e.g. after a stomach upset or it may be permanent. The condition is more common in those of Asian and African-Caribbean descent.

If lactose intolerance is suspected, it is important to consult a doctor who can usually diagnose the condition by exclusion of lactose. Sometimes further tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis. The severity of lactose intolerance varies – tiny amounts may be problematic for some, while others may be able to tolerate a glass of milk.

All of Koko’s products are free from lactose and safe for people who are lactose intolerant. A useful source of information is:

All of Koko's products are free from lactose and safe for people who are lactose intolerant

Cow’s milk protein allergy

Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) is not the same as lactose intolerance. CMPA is an allergic reaction to the protein found in milk. Symptoms will depend on the type of antibodies involved. Some reactions involve a type of antibody called IgE. These are called IgE mediated reactions. IgE mediated reactions cause quick onset symptoms like rashes, hives, wheeze, diarrhoea, vomiting and in extreme cases breathing problems and anaphylaxis. Delayed symptoms can include eczema, wind, colic and reflux and don’t involve IgE antibodies and so are referred to as non-IgE mediated.

CMPA is a common food allergy seen in babies and children, with symptoms usually appearing when cow’s milk is introduced into the diet for the first time. CMPA that comes on immediately is diagnosed by reviewing the feeding and symptom history along with skin prick testing or specific antibody blood testing. Delayed reactions are diagnosed by careful exclusion and reintroduction of cow’s milk under the supervision of a GP, dietitian or other health professional. Prognosis of CMPA is good with most children growing out of it by age five. Many children with CMPA are also allergic to soya protein. All of Koko’s products are free from cow’s milk protein and soya.

Replacing calcium when avoiding dairy

Milk and dairy products are an excellent source of calcium and in both lactose intolerance and cow’s milk protein allergy calcium is a key nutrient to replace. Calcium is important for healthy bones, teeth, blood clotting, muscle function and the nervous system. The calcium content of Koko’s milk, yogurt and cheese alternatives is matched to that of cow’s milk.

Please note that Koko’s milks (like cow’s milk) are unsuitable as a main drink until two years of age but after that they can be used wherever and however cow’s milk would be.

The calcium content of Koko's milk, yogurt and cheese alternatives is matched to that of cow's milk

Vegan Diets

An increasing number of people are opting to follow a vegan diet for health, environmental and animal welfare reasons. Calcium, Vitamin B12 and iodine are key nutrients that vegans need to consider. Vitamin B12 is needed to prevent anemia and keep the nervous system healthy. It is naturally found in animal products so also needs to be included in a vegan diet.

The Vegan Society recommends that vegans eat vitamin B12 fortified foods at least twice per day, aiming for 3ug of vitamin B12 per day or take a supplement of vitamin B12 (10ug per day or 2000ug once weekly). Iodine has a crucial part to play in thyroid health. As it can be difficult to find vegan friendly sources the Vegan Society recommends a non-seaweed iodine supplement.

All of Koko’s milk, yogurt and cheese alternatives are suitable for vegans and are fortified with calcium and vitamin D2 (to help with calcium absorption) and B12. In addition to this Koko Super Milk is also a source of iodine.

A useful source of information is:

Flexitarian Diets

Approximately 20% of the UK population now follow a flexitarian type diet – where a largely vegetable based diet is eaten, occasionally supplemented with meat. Flexitarians aim to lead a healthier lifestyle with less reliance on meat and dairy and reduce their environmental impact on the planet.

The diet has potential to be richer in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre and lower in fat and calories, but flexitarians still need to be mindful of their Vitamin B12 and iron intakes. Iron is essential for healthy blood and a healthy immune system. Red meat is an especially rich source of iron and alternatives need to be found if excluding it.

Good plant based sources of iron include fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, pulses, dried fruit and wholemeal bread. Eating plant sources of iron with foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli) will help the iron to be absorbed. If necessary flexitarians should take a supplement. All of Koko’s milk, yogurt and cheese alternatives are fortified with calcium, vitamin D2 and B12.

All of Koko's milk, yogurt, and cheese alternatives are fortified by calcium, vitamin D2 and B12