Lactose Intolerance. What is it and How to Avoid it?

Lactose Intolerance occurs when there is an inability to adequately digest sugar (lactose) that is found in dairy products. Lactose intolerance is usually caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase in the body. Abdominal cramps, bloating, and diarrhoea are common symptoms. The treatment centres on avoiding dairy products, switching to lactose-free foods, or using lactase supplements.

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Although there is no treatment for lactose intolerance, most people can manage their symptoms by changing their diet. Lactose intolerance can be transient in certain situations, such as those induced by gastroenteritis, and will go away in a few days or weeks. Other cases, such as those resulting from an inherited genetic defect or a long-term underlying disease, are likely to be permanent.

Sources of Lactose:

Milk: Milk, including cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and sheep’s milk, is a primary source of lactose in our diet. You may need to adjust the amount of milk in your diet depending on how mild or severe your lactose sensitivity is.

For Example:

~ You may be able to have milk in your tea or coffee but not on your cereal.

~ Some milk-based goods, such as milk chocolate, may still be suitable in modest amounts.

~ It’s possible that drinking milk with a meal rather than on its own boosts lactose absorption.

– Dairy Products: Lactose is found in dairy products such as cream, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, and butter, which should be avoided if you’re lactose intolerant. However, because the amount of lactose in these items varies and is sometimes extremely low, you may be able to consume some of them without difficulty. It’s worth testing with different foods to see if you can eat dairy products, as they’re a rich source of important nutrients like calcium.

– Other Foods and Drinks: Lactose can be found in a variety of meals and beverages, including milk and dairy products.

These include:

~ salad cream, salad dressing and mayonnaise.

~ cakes and chocolate.

~ boiled sweets.

~ some types of bread and other baked goods.

~ biscuits and some breakfast cereals.

~ packets of mixes to make pancakes and biscuits.

~ packets of instant potatoes and instant soup.

Milk or lactose are frequently hidden ingredients in food and drink goods, so read the labels carefully. Milk, whey, curds, and milk products such as cheese, butter, and cream will not always have the word “lactose” written separately on the food label, therefore check the ingredients list for milk, whey, curds, and milk products such as cheese, butter, and cream. Lactic acid, sodium lactate, and cocoa butter are examples of foods that seem like they contain lactose but don’t. If you’re lactose intolerant, you don’t have to avoid these ingredients.

Lactose Alternatives:

– Lactose-free foods and drinks: In supermarkets, you may find a variety of substitute foods and drinks to replace the milk and dairy items you must avoid.

Foods and beverages that are typically lactose-free include:

~ soya yoghurts and cheeses.

~ coconut-based yoghurts and cheeses.

~ almond milk, yogurts, and cheeses.

~ rice milk.

~ oat milk.

~ hazelnut milk.

~ foods with the “dairy-free” or “suitable for vegans” signs.

– Lactose-free Dairy Products: Lactose-free dairy products are available for purchase and are acceptable for lactose intolerance sufferers. These include the same vitamins and minerals as regular dairy products, but they also contain lactase, an enzyme that aids in the digestion of lactose, ensuring that the products do not cause any symptoms. Lactose-free milk, yoghurt, and cheese can usually be found at larger supermarkets