Yogurt: Some studies have shown that the active live bacterial cultures (also known as probiotics) found in yogurt help lactose digestion.
Diet Options and Alternatives
Written by Gloria Tsang, RD of HealthCastle.com
Published in Sep 2004; Updated in Mar 2011
(HealthCastle.com) Bloated right after drinking a glass of milk? You are not alone. About 70% of the world’s population just can’t drink milk or eat dairy products without getting an upset stomach. Lactose intolerance is genetic, and happens most often in people of African, Asian, and Mediterranean descent. Many people with lactose intolerance don’t even know they have the condition, while some may be misdiagnosed as having a serious bowel disease. Don’t believe you have a serious bowel disorder until you are sure milk is not the culprit.
How much upset milk can cause depends on the severity of your lactase deficiency. Many people with lactose intolerance can still drink a single glass of milk without distress, says researcher Dr. Dennis Savaiano of the University of Minnesota. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme, lactase, needed to digest lactose (milk sugar). Undigested lactose lingers in the intestine and ferments – causing intestinal discomfort, including abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea.
Lactose Intolerance – Diet Options
- Drink small quantities of milk at one time.
- Drink milk with meals.
- Use Lactaid (an enzyme to help digest lactose in dairy) every time you eat dairy.
- Use special milk products such as Lacteeze or other “Lactose-free milk” which have lactose reduced by 99%. Some “lactose-reduced” milk products have lactose only partially reduced – so be sure to read the labels.
- For infants with lactose intolerance, try Lactose-free infant formulas.
- Try calcium-fortified soy milk or other non-dairy milk to ensure adequate calcium intake.
- Also try calcium-fortified orange juice if you are concerned about calcium.
- Stick to dairy products that are naturally low in lactose, such as swiss cheese and cottage cheese.
- Watch out for non-dairy commercial products that may contain lactose. If the ingredient list includes any of the following ingredients, it has lactose or milk products: whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, and nonfat dry milk powder.
Lactose Intolerance: Some Dairy Products Maybe OK
Yogurt: Yogurt may be safe. Some studies have shown that the active live bacterial cultures (also known as probiotics) found in yogurt help lactose digestion. However, frozen yogurt does not seem to have the same effect for many people, and may still cause stomach upset.