Lactose Intolerance: How To Enjoy Dairy (Pain Free!)

Lactose Intolerance - How To Enjoy Dairy

Many Americans suffer from lactose intolerance. Lactose is the milk sugar in milk and dairy products. Lactose intolerance occurs when your body does not have enough of the enzyme 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.

If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.

Should you remove lactose altogether?

Many people completely remove dairy products from their diet to avoid these symptoms. Dairy products, especially low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheeses are an important part of a balanced diet.

Unfortunately, this is a problem. Dairy products provide you with calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium, and, protein – all of which are important and essential nutrients for bone health. They also reduce your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and improving weight management.

Below are a few tips to help you enjoy your favorite dairy products.

A grapes & cheese platter is a good example of combining dairy with other foods

1) Consume dairy with other foods.

When you eat or drink your milk or dairy products with other foods it helps to digest more slowly and decrease symptoms.

2) Try small amounts at a time.

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.

Related: “Cow’s Milk Allergy: When It’s Not Just Fussy Feeding”

Lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk can be tolerable by individuals with lactose intolerance

4) Try lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk and dairy products.

Many of these products contain lactase, the enzyme your body is missing, to 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.    

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Amanda Haney, MS, RD, CNSC
Hi, my name is Amanda Haney. I am a registered dietitian, board-certified nutrition support clinician, Cal State Long Beach alumnae, and former pediatric clinical dietitian. Currently, I am working as a project manager at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As a clinical dietitian or in my current role, my passion is working in a diverse setting with a variety of teams in order to improve patient outcomes and achieve better health for the families in my community. I became a dietitian because I love food and I love medicine. There is so much misinformation about nutrition in the media, so I enjoy creating educational content that makes nutrition simple and to make your health goals achievable. In my free time, I love soaking up the beauty at the beach, riding my bike, staying active, cooking, and, most of all, spending time with my family and friends!