What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose is a type of sugar found naturally in milk. You need an enzyme called lactase to digest lactose, but some people’s bodies don’t produce enough lactase to comfortably digest the lactose. And often, our bodies produce less lactase as we age – that’s why some people who had no trouble drinking milk as kids find that they have problems when they drink it as adults.
How do lactose intolerant people eat dairy?
- Try lactose-free milk. It’s real milk, just without the lactose.
- Start with a small amount of regular milk daily and increase it slowly over several days or weeks to find out how much regular milk you can comfortably digest.
- Mix milk with other foods, such as soups and cereal; blend it with fruit or drink it with meals. Solid foods help slow digestion and give your body more time to digest the lactose.
- Try natural cheeses, such as cheddar, Colby jack, Monterey jack, mozzarella and Swiss, which are low in lactose.
- Choose yogurt with live and active cultures. The cultures help your body digest lactose.
Nutrition experts recommend you try to keep dairy in your diet even if you have lactose intolerance. Avoiding dairy can lead to deficiencies in calcium and other important nutrients, which can lead to a broad spectrum of chronic diseases.