Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem that occurs when the cells that line the small intestine are unable to secrete enough lactase, an enzyme responsible for properly breaking down lactose (the natural sugar found in milk) and allowing it to get easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Having lactose intolerance means that lactose sits undigested in the gut, where it gets fermented by bacteria. This can lead to the production of different gases, which can cause diarrhea, bloating, stomach cramps, nausea, and other symptoms usually within two hours of consuming any food or drink that contains lactose.
The best way to manage the symptoms of lactose intolerance is to avoid the foods that cause them. Listed below are the three foods that are most notorious for exacerbating lactose intolerance.
Milk from cows, goats, and sheep contains the highest amount of lactose out of all dairy products. A 250ml serving of cow, goat, or sheep’s milk contains approximately 13g of lactose.
There are, however, many milk substitutes and lactose-free products available that contain important vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, to ensure you are still getting enough of them from your diet.
Depending on the severity of your lactose intolerance, you may still be able to consume milk, such as with coffee, in small amounts spread out over the course of the day, or as part of a meal, rather than on its own, to facilitate lactose digestion.
Ice cream products are dairy-based foods, and they usually have high levels of lactose and thus should be avoided.
There are some types of ice cream that are fairly low in lactose. You can consume cream-based or lactose-free ice cream as an alternative to milk-based ones. Lactose-free ice cream products are made with a synthetic lactase enzyme, which makes them relatively better to eat for people with lactose intolerance.
Contrary to popular belief, some types of cheese contain little to no lactose and are safe to consume in moderation if you are lactose intolerant. It is because they are made of fermented milk containing lactic acid bacteria (LAB), which partially or completely breaks down lactose and makes it easier to digest.
The types of cheese that you need to avoid are those that are highly processed. They are made by melting natural cheese to halt the aging process and adding milk or whey.
Lactose Intolerance Testing in Westlake and Brooklyn, Ohio
At North Shore Gastroenterology, we offer lactose intolerance testing and other state-of-the-art in-office diagnostic procedures as part of our commitment to provide the residents of Westlake, Brooklyn, and neighboring areas in Ohio with high-quality, comprehensive care.
To find out more about our services or to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified GI doctors, call us at (440) 808-1212 or you can conveniently request an appointment online. We have two offices at which to serve you in Westlake and Brooklyn, Ohio.