Fortunately, most people who are lactose deficient don't have to completely cut dairy foods from their diets. In fact, it's been estimated that about 80 percent of people with lactose intolerance are still able to drink enough milk for good nutrition.
Just how diligent you must be in avoiding lactose depends entirely on how sensitive you are. Below are a few home remedies that may help you minimize your lactose intolerant symptoms.
Consider lactase products. There are a number of different lactase products on the market to help the lactose intolerant continue to include milk or other dairy-based products in their diet. A lactase enzyme powder can be sprinkled or a few drops of the liquid form can be added to milk that will predigest the lactose for you. (Keep in mind, however, that you must add the drops 24 hours in advance of drinking the milk to give the drops time to work). Another option is ingesting a lactase tablet immediately after eating a dairy product.
Determine your level of lactose intolerance. The degree of intolerance differs with each person. The best way to assess your tolerance is first to get all lactose out of your system by avoiding all lactose-containing foods for three to four weeks. Then start with very small quantities of milk or cheese. Monitor your symptoms to see how much or how little dairy food you can handle without experiencing discomfort. Once you know your limits, management becomes a little easier.
Check the milk percentage. Fat slows the passage of lactose through your digestive system, giving your body more time to work on digesting it. So if you have trouble tolerating skim milk but don't want all the fat and calories from whole milk, try drinking one percent or two percent milk instead.
Stick with small servings. While you may not be able to tolerate an eight-ounce glass of milk all at once, you may have no discomfort from drinking a third of a cup in the morning, a third of a cup in the afternoon, and a third of a cup at night.
Don't eat dairy foods alone. If you eat some cheese or drink a little milk, plan to do so with a meal or a snack. Eating dairy on an empty stomach can worsen your symptoms.
Hidden sources of lactose. Lactose is used in a lot of processed foods where you might not expect to find it. To identify hidden sources of lactose, check the labels before you buy. You should also know that bread, cereals, pancakes, chocolate, soups, puddings, salad dressings, sherbet, instant cocoa mix, candies, frozen dinners, cookie mixes, and hot dogs may all contain lactose. While the amounts of lactose may be small, people with low tolerance levels can experience symptoms from them.
When perusing ingredient labels, it's not just milk that you have to watch for. Whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, nonfat dry milk powder, casein, galactose, skim milk powder, milk sugar, and whey protein concentrate are all words that indicate the presence of lactose.
If you absolutely cannot tolerate milk, read the next section for home remedies in the form of other food and drinks that are a good source of calcium.
For more information about remedies for stomach problems, try the following links:
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.