Many Americans suffer from lactose intolerance. Lactose is the sugar in milk and dairy products. Lactose intolerance occurs when your body does not have enough enzymes to digest or breakdown this milk sugar. If you’re lactose intolerant, you may experience painful stomach cramps, gas, or diarrhea when you eat or drink dairy products.
In the video below, Amanda Haney discusses how to enjoy dairy despite being lactose intolerant.
Continue reading for more information.
Should you remove lactose altogether?
Many people remove dairy products altogether from their diet to avoid these symptoms. Unfortunately, this is a problem. Dairy products provide calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium, and protein – all of which are essential nutrients for bone health. They also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and improve weight management.
Below are a few tips to help you enjoy your favorite dairy products.
1) Consume dairy with other foods.
When you eat or drink milk or dairy products with other foods, it helps to digest more slowly and decrease symptoms.
Your body can adapt and become more efficient at digesting lactose. Start with one bite or one small amount of milk or dairy with food (depending on how sensitive you are). Slowly increase the amount and frequency you consume until you can tolerate an entire serving without symptoms.
3) Try foods that contain dairy before drinking milk.
Yogurt or cheeses are generally tolerated better than milk. They have other food components that improve your symptoms by slowing down digestion.
4) Try lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk and dairy products.
Many of these products contain lactase, the enzyme your body is missing, to help digest the lactose.
If your lactose intolerance is more severe, you may benefit from lactase enzyme pills. First, meet with your doctor and registered dietitian to discuss the best way to incorporate dairy into your lifestyle.