Lactose is a naturally-occurring sugar found in dairy products. The enzyme lactase in the gut helps to break down lactose during digestion. People suffering from lactose intolerance don’t have the enzyme lactase in an adequate amount to completely digest lactose, so eating dairy products can cause digestive issues like stomach pain, bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea.
Dietary management of lactose intolerance
This includes the elimination of foods high in lactose content. If the symptoms subside, then a small quantity of lactose-containing foods may be restarted and observed. Most people will be able to find out their tolerance level for lactose during this period. In rare cases, people may be so sensitive that they need to eliminate foods with lower levels of lactose including biscuits, cakes and other processed foods.
Foods that contain lactose and to be avoided
Lactose found in dairy products such as:
Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream
Food items that contain lactose
Milk solids, skim milk powder, cream, buttermilk, malted milk, whey lactose, curd, and margarine
Hidden sources of lactose
Bread, candy, cookies, cold cuts, hot dogs, sauces, and gravies, dessert mixes, cream soup, chocolate drink mixes and salad dressings.
How to manage Lactose intolerance?
Take small amounts
Eat or drink small quantities of dairy products. Maintain a food diary and have a track of what you eat and drink and jot it down when you experience any complaints.
Go for lactose-free and reduced-lactose products including milk, ice-cream and cheese.
Supplement them with probiotics- yoghurt, kefir fermented vegetables and supplements help to maintain a healthy gut and aid in digestion.
Foods to be included
- Other dairy free-milk options like almond milk, hemp milk, oats milk, soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, cashew milk and hazelnut milk
- Almonds, Brazil nuts, and dried beans
- Fish with soft bones, such as canned salmon or sardines, shrimp
- Broccoli, cabbage, okra and leafy green vegetables, calcium fortified orange juice, tofu and cereals.