One of the most frequent questions we hear about lactose intolerance is, can I still drink dairy?
Yes! There are ways for people with lactose intolerance to enjoy their favorite dairy foods, while benefiting from the wholesome nutrients found in milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions – and answers – we received during Lactose Intolerance Month in February.
What is lactose intolerance?
The inability to fully digest a naturally occurring sugar (lactose) found in milk and other dairy products. With this condition, the body does not make enough of an enzyme (lactase) needed to break down foods containing lactose.
How do I know if I’m lactose intolerant?
Roughly 1 in 10 adults report having lactose intolerance. Diagnosing your own lactose intolerance can be tricky. If you have symptoms like bloating, gas, or an upset stomach after eating dairy, it’s best to check with your doctor to nail down a diagnosis.
How can I enjoy dairy while living with lactose intolerance?
By making a few changes in your eating habits, there are ways you can continue to enjoy wholesome milk, cheese and yogurt, with minimal or no discomfort.
- Mix milk with other foods to help slow down digestion.
- Choose yogurt with live and active cultures to help digest lactose.
- Drink lactose-free dairy products.
Not to mention, there are a few over-the-counter medications that may help, too. Again, this is territory for your doctor.
Is lactose-free milk made from cows?
Yes, lactose-free milk are real dairy products – without the lactose. The process is quite simple. Milk processors add the lactase enzyme to neutralize the lactose.
Will I still get the same nutrients from lactose-free milk?
Yes, you will still get the same nine essential nutrients found in regular milk.
What are the best cheeses to eat if you’re lactose intolerant?
Move toward natural, hard cheeses like cheddar and Swiss. They’re lower in lactose, making them easier to digest.
TIP: Check the “Sugar” on the Nutrition Facts. The fewer grams of sugar on the label, the less lactose.
Can you eat Greek yogurt if you’re lactose intolerant?
Yes, there are some great brands that produce 100% lactose free Greek yogurt. Find out which ones in our blog – Greek Yogurt for the Lactose and Gluten Intolerant.
If you’re lactose intolerant you can eat confidently and continue to include dairy in your diet. Visit EatConfidentlywithLI.org to embrace your appetite with lactose intolerance-friendly recipes and download this Quick Pocket Guide to Latose-Intolerance Friendly Dairy Foods.