A Common Misconception
A common misconception exists that suggests that lactose intolerance and dairy intolerance are one and the same. Some people experience gas, bloating or other physical symptoms after having milk, cheese or yogurt because their bodies fail to produce enough lactase, the enzyme that helps break down the lactose (milk sugar) found in milk. Often, those who experience such symptoms choose to avoid milk and milk products entirely, but this is both unnecessary and potentially dangerous, as it can lead to nutritional shortcomings and adverse health effects.
DID YOU KNOW? That natural cheeses, like Cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack, have very little lactose, so people who have difficulty digesting lactose can usually enjoy cheese with no problems. Check out this handout for more information on how much lactose is in foods and how to manage lactose intolerance.
If you love the taste of dairy foods but hate the occasionally stomach-churning after-effects, here are a number of tips that may help you enjoy the recommended three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods without suffering the potentially painful and embarrassing side effects:
Enjoy Dairy Again with These Tips:
Start with a small amount of milk daily and increase consumption slowly over several days or weeks to build your tolerance.
Opt for lactose-free milk and milk products. They are still real milk products, just without the lactose, and they provide the same nutrients as regular dairy foods, and taste just as great.
Mix milk with other foods, such as soups and cereal, or blend it with fruit or alongside a large meal. Solid foods help slow digestion and allows the body more time to digest lactose.
Top sandwiches or crackers with natural cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss, all of which are low in lactose.
Enjoy easy-to-digest yogurt. The live and active cultures in yogurt aid in lactose digestion.