An initial reaction to a diagnosis of lactose intolerance is often to consider avoiding dairy altogether. However this is not as easy as it sounds – lactose is often a hidden ingredient in foods, and is in many medications. Nor is it convenient – going out to eat can become fraught with worry, especially as the symptoms of lactose intolerance can come on quickly and can be embarrassing.
Dairy is also an essential source of calcium in our diets, maintaining bone mineral health and reducing the risks of osteoporosis. Click here for more information on the benefits of dairy. Any restriction of dairy should be discussed with a healthcare professional to ensure your diet contains the recommended daily intake of calcium supplements.
We strongly recommend that you maintain dairy in your diet by being careful about what dairy products you eat, how much and when. The tips below will assist you to reduce your lactose load while still enjoying the benefits of dairy.
Taking Lacteeze lactase enzyme supplements is the easiest way to manage your lactose intolerance, and eliminates the need to change your diet. However, if you are not taking lactase enzyme supplements the following tips may help minimise the effects of lactose intolerance:
- Consume smaller servings of dairy at a time. It is better to have several small servings spread out over the day rather than one larger serving. By doing this you will still receive the vital nutrients from dairy while minimising unpleasant symptoms.
- Eat dairy with other foods to slow the passage of the dairy through the gut and allow the lactase digestive enzymes more time to work.
- Use lactose-free products wherever possible. If you don’t like the taste of commercially bought lactose-free products, or find them too expensive, you can make your own lactose-free dairy products such as milk, butters, ice creams and cheeses using Lacteeze drops.
- The fats in full cream milk slow down the passage of the milk through the digestive system, allowing lactase enzymes more time to break down the lactose.
- Skim milk contains more lactose than full-cream milk, and low fat milks travel quickly through the gut so are less well tolerated than full cream milks.
- Cultured yoghurt may be fairly well tolerated as it contains enzymes which help break down the lactose.
- Hard and more mature cheeses such as cheddar, Edam, Swiss, mozzarella, brie and feta generally contain very little lactose and are well tolerated.
- Lactose can be found in many processed foods such as baked goods, desserts, cheese sauces, breakfast cereals and milk chocolate. Wherever possible check the ingredients for milk products such as whey, milk solids or milk sugars.
- See Lactose Content of Common Foods to help you choose dairy alternatives which contain less lactose.
- If you are limiting your dairy intake, the following calcium-rich, non-dairy foods will help maintain your calcium levels
- Soy milk (fortified) including soy yoghurts.
- salmon (canned with bones)
- orange juice (fortified)
- chard or okra
- dandelion greens
- beans (pinto)
- turnip greens
- oatmeal (fortified) and
- bread (whole wheat, fortified).
- Many medications including some antihistamines contain lactose and this may not be marked on the label. If you are very sensitive to dairy, ask your doctor or pharmacist to check the fillers used in your medications. If you do find a medication is causing your digestive upset, taking Lacteeze immediately before taking the medication will reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
- Lactose is also a hidden ingredient in many foods, such as weight loss and sports supplements. We recommend using Lacteeze drops to reduce the lactose in liquid supplements, or alternatively taking Lacteeze tablets prior to consuming the supplement.