What Foods To Have For A Lactose Intolerance Diet?
A lactose intolerance diet will help you if you experience stomach problems such as cramps, bloating and diarrhoea every time you eat dairy products. Lactose intolerance is a common condition that affects millions of people and results from an inability to digest lactose. However, not everyone is the same, and some people can digest more lactose than others. Therefore, a lactose intolerance diet plan may not completely eliminate all foods containing lactose.
What Is Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose is a sugar that is in milk and other dairy products. Some people cannot digest lactose as the enzyme lactase which is required for its metabolism is either absent or is available in very small amounts in the body. When lactose containing foods are digested, the body produces a lot of gas which in turn causes symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and flatulence. Lactose intolerance is sometimes confused with milk allergy. A milk allergy differs from lactose intolerance as if you suffer from a milk allergy your body reacts abnormally to milk proteins, whereas with lactose intolerance you are unable to metabolise the lactose due to a deficiency in lactase.
What Can You Eat When You Have Lactose Intolerance?
As most lactose intolerance sufferers can tolerate small amounts of lactose in their diet, it is usually unnecessary to eliminate all dairy products in the diet. The main concern for lactose intolerance sufferers is obtaining an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D in their diets. They are various foods you can include into your diet that will be able to provide you with the calcium you would normally be getting from dairy products. Research has also shown that people with lactose intolerance can slowly build up their tolerance for lactose by gradually introducing small amounts of milk in the diet which change their intestinal bacteria and allow them to metabolise lactase better. According to John Hopkins Hospital, the best strategy to deal with lactose intolerance is to:
- Eat and drink small amounts of dairy foods as part of your diet, depending on your symptoms and how much you can handle.
- Include lactose-free products such as milk, cheese and ice-cream in your lactose intolerance diet plan.
- Take lactase enzyme supplements which are available over the counter. These can help you digest lactose.
Foods That Contain Lactose
Milk, cheese*, ice-cream, yoghurt, milk powder.
*Some hard cheeses like edam and mozzarella and also feta contain no lactose.
Butter and cream also contain low levels of lactose and are tolerated well by people with lactose intolerance).
Products With Milk
Any product containing milk* or milk by-products such as whey, curds, casein, dry milk solids.
(*Yoghurt is an exeception, as it contains live cultures of bacteria which use lactose for energy)
Bread, baked goods, cereals, soups, dressings, powdered coffee creamers, processed meats, candy, sauces, desert mixes.
Foods That Are High In Calcium And Dairy-Free
A lactose intolerance diet plan should include foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D. Here are some examples:
In conclusion, a lactose intolerance diet plan can help you combat the effects of lactose intolerance and manage symptoms. The key is to drink milk in small quantities and try to build up your tolerance over time, while cutting back on lactose rich dairy products, and supplementing with lactase. It is also important to remember to include foods high in calcium and vitamin D to counteract the effect of cutting back on dairy products which are normally the main source of calcium in a healthy diet.
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