Many health authorities agree that milk and milk products are an important and practical source of key nutrients for all people – including those who are lactose intolerant.
Low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt provide a unique nutritional package. Milk is the number one food source of three of the four nutrients the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified as those Americans need to consume more of: vitamin D, calcium & potassium. Those who decide to limit dairy’s inclusion in their diets before knowing the facts about lactose intolerance may actually be putting their health at risk.
Lactose intolerance is often mischaracterized as an allergy that generally requires completely avoiding dairy. However, lactose intolerance is actually the body’s inability to digest lactose (a natural sugar mainly found in dairy products), and it’s not an all-or-nothing condition.
What are common symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?
Symptoms range from mild to severe based on the amount of lactose consumed and the amount a person can tolerate. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and nausea. Discomfort can occur 30 minutes to two hours after consuming milk and milk products.
How is Lactose Intolerance diagnosed?
The hydrogen breath test is one way for your doctor to determine the levels of undigested lactose in your diet. In addition, your doctor may also recommend eliminating milk and milk products from your diet to see if your symptoms resolve.
Lactose-free milk is regular milk, but with the sugar (lactose) already broken down.