Lactose Free Diet

lactose free diet with a dairy free mealLactose free diet means having a diet free from any foods containing lactase. This may even mean eliminating some non-dairy type foods that do contain lactase.

What Kinds of Foods are Not Lactose-Free?

Knowing which foods are lactose free helps you plan a life without lactose, specifically if you are lactose intolerant. It can certainly be a challenge to know what is permissible and what is ok for you to eat when you are lactose intolerant. You may be surprised when living with lactose intolerance, what foods are considered non-dairy products and yet still contain lactose. Because they contain lactose these foods may yet cause symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, cramping, and nausea for some people. To prevent these discomforts a full understanding of what kinds of foods may contain lactose is important.

Critical for Lactose Intolerance

Lactose free diet  is critical for people with the condition known as lactose intolerance.  Lactose intolerance is the inability of the body to digest the lactose found in milk and in products containing milk. The inability is caused by having a deficiency of lactase. Lactase is an enzyme that is produced by the cells coating the small intestine. The purpose of this enzyme is to break down the lactose into simpler sugars. These simpler sugars are then more readily enabled to be absorbed into the bloodstream. When individuals experience symptoms about thirty minutes to two hours after consuming milk or milk products such as bloating, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, or nausea it is often because of the lactase enzyme deficiency in the digestion process.

Non Dairy Foods and a Lactose Free Diet

Lactose free diet may be sabotaged for many people.  Many people are aware that there is lactose in milk. However, the lines can sometimes become blurred as to what foods are considered “milk products” and which foods are not. Therefore, it becomes confusing as to which foods should be avoided. Specific products that are easily recognizable as “milk products” are yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and cream. But in addition, foods that are also considered as “milk products” are chocolate, mayonnaise, boiled sweets, instant mashed potatoes, salad cream, and sponge cakes — especially those cakes that contain cream filling.

 Lactose Free Diet Challenges Due to the Popularity of Milk

Following a lactose free diet may be difficult due to the popularity of milk as an ingredient used in food and in baking.  It is really important for those who are lactose intolerant to get into the lactose free diet is difficult with so many milk products being availablehabit of reading food labels and learning to check those food labels so as to reduce or eliminate their symptoms. Lactose intolerant people have to go further than just limiting the amount of milk and milk products that are consumed.

 

Due to the popularity of milk as a food ingredient, many homemade foods such as waffles, pancakes, biscuits, mashed potatoes, and cookies are made with milk. This is also true for these products when they are sold as a mix or as already made. Processed foods may contain lactose as well. Examples are items such as doughnuts, toaster pastries, breakfast cereals, and potato or corn chips.

 Trace Amounts of Lactose

Moreover, products that you would never think contain even trace amounts of lactose actually do. It would really help everybody to become informed as to what they are eating by getting into the habit of scrutinising food labels. For lactose intolerant people it is especially important to check the food labels of items such as bread, baked goods, even some soups have traces of milk in them. Salad dressings, some protein powders and bars, and even processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage and lunch meats contain enough milk in them to set off a reaction in a lactose intolerant person.

 Lactose Free May Mean Eliminating Some Non-Dairy Products

There are also some non-dairy products such as powdered coffee creamers and liquid which may contain small amounts of lactose. There may also be some whipped toppings which may contain small amounts of lactose.  Look out for the occurrence of the words milk, curds, lactose, dry milk solids, whey, or milk by-products listed on the ingredients label of any food. If those words do occur then product probably contains lactose.

 Lactose Free Diet and Prescription Medicines

lactose free diet and presecription medicinesYou would not expect to find lactose in some prescription medicines, but they are there. So making it a habit to read labels becomes even more vital when living with lactose intolerance. Even some types of birth control pills are included in some of these prescriptions containing milk traces. There are also some over-the-counter medications for treating stomach acid and gas that can have lactose in them as well.

 Lactose Intolerance

Living with lactose intolerance means having to be especially wary of what is eaten with lactose being present in so many different types of foods. However, there can be different tolerance levels between people with a lactase deficiency. Digestive symptoms are experienced by everyone with lactase deficiency. Most lactose intolerant people can handle some amount of lactose in their diet, just not a lot. Just remember to talk with your health care provider if you have any concerns or need more information.

 

An overview of the topic is available from here.

More information is available from WebMD and from Wikipedia