Why Should I Follow a Lactose-Controlled Diet?
If you are lactose intolerant, your body is unable to digest large amounts of lactose. Consuming lactose may result in symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramping, and
. Reducing the amount of lactose in your diet will prevent or reduce these symptoms.
usually occurs when there is a shortage of the lactase enzyme. It can also occur with diseases or injuries that affect the small intestines.
Lactose-Controlled Diet Basics
The goal of this diet is to reduce any lactose-induced symptoms to a point where they are not bothersome. The amount of lactose that is tolerated will vary from person to person. You may find it helpful to keep a log of the foods that you eat and any symptoms that you have.
Common Sources of Lactose
Lactose is found in all dairy products. Some products contain more lactose than others. This carbohydrate can also be an ingredient in other types of food. To determine whether a food contains lactose, look for the following key words on the ingredient list:
- Dried milk
- Milk solids
- Powdered milk
The following foods generally contain no lactose:
- Lactose-free milk like Lactaid
- Broth-based soups
- Soy, almond, and rice milk
- Fish, beef, pork, lamb, and poultry prepared without dairy products
- Tofu and tofu products prepared without dairy products
- Bread, cereal, and crackers made without dairy products
Low Lactose Foods
The following foods contain only small amounts of lactose (2 grams or less per serving) and can often be tolerated in small amounts:
- Aged cheese, like Swiss, Cheddar, or Parmesan—1-2 ounces
- Cream cheese—2 tablespoons
- Cottage cheese—½ cup
- Orange sherbet—½ cup
Finding Your Level of Dairy Tolerance
Before cutting dairy products out completely, try cutting back. Milk is usually better tolerated in small amounts (4 ounces or less at a time) and when consumed with food. Cultured dairy products, such as yogurt and kefir, are often well-tolerated because they contain bacteria that help break down the lactose. Aged cheeses, such as cheddar and Swiss, which contain very low amounts of lactose, are also usually well-tolerated.
Alternatives to Milk
Alternatives to regular milk include lactose-reduced and lactose-free milk . Lactase enzyme tablets can also be added to milk to reduce the lactose content. Non-dairy alternatives include soy milk and rice milk.
Dairy products are an excellent source of
. Milk is also fortified with
, which is necessary for your body to use calcium. If you cut back on or eliminate these products, be sure you are getting these nutrients elsewhere. Good sources of calcium include fortified orange juice, fortified breakfast cereals, fish canned with bones, and tofu. Good sources of vitamin D include salmon, mackerel, egg yolks, and sunlight.