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Dairy 101: Lactose Intolerance

posted Jun 23, 2017, 9:21 AM by Sunamita Da Silva
We’ve been talking dairy all month long, but we know that for some of us, dairy may be a limited option because of lactose intolerance. We’ve discussed dairy alternatives last week, so this week we’re giving you the short and sweet on lactose intolerance.

What is lactose?

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Our bodies have an enzyme called lactase that breaks down lactose so it can be absorbed in our bodies.  

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is a condition in which the body cannot digest lactose because it doesn’t have the enzyme lactase to do so. Because of this, people who are lactose intolerant will often feel symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and gas when they eat or drink lactose-containing dairy products. There are different types of lactase deficiency, which is why some people can eat or drink more lactose-containing dairy products without symptoms than others. For more on the types of lactose intolerance, visit here.

Did you know?

It’s normal for most adults to lose the ability to digest lactose. It’s actually a genetic modification that allows some adults to keep the enzyme lactase.

Can I still have dairy products?

Your body is the best judge of whether or not you can have lactose-containing dairy products. Some people do well with harder cheeses (because they are naturally lactose free), while others still feel some discomfort when eating these in excess. For others, one glass of milk per day is A-Okay, but they may not be able to go above that.

You are your best judge here. Consider trying different dairy products in different quantities to test what your body can tolerate. You can also look for lactose-free milk and cheese at your local grocery store and check out non-dairy alternatives like soy milk.

Happy dairy shopping!

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