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Nutrition Library: Nutrition Basics

Why does milk bother me?



Lactose intolerance means that you cannot digest foods with lactose in them. Lactose is the sugar found in milk and foods made with milk.

Should I worry about lactose intolerance?

No. Lactose intolerance is not serious. You should feel better soon if you eat less food with lactose or if you use products that help you digest lactose.

Why does my body have trouble digesting lactose?

You cannot digest lactose because you do not have enough lactase enzyme. The small intestine needs lactase enzyme to break down lactose. If lactose is not digested, it can cause gas and stomach cramps.

How will I feel if I have lactose intolerance?

After eating foods with lactose in them, you may feel sick to your stomach. You may also have

  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling in your stomach

What can I do about lactose intolerance?

You will need to eat less of all foods with lactose. These foods include

  • Ice cream
  • Ice milk
  • Sherbet
  • Cream
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt.
  • Some Prepared foods

 

How will I know if lactose is in food?

Look for certain words on food labels. These words mean the food has lactose in it:

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Dried milk
  • Lactose
  • Milk
  • Milk solids
  • Powdered milk
  • Whey

Can I eat any foods with lactose?

You may be able to eat a small amount of food with lactose. For example, you may be able to eat cheese or yogurt, but not drink milk. Or you may be able to eat some prepared foods. To find out if you can, try a small amount of the food and then see how you feel.

Can I take anything to help digest lactose?

  • You can buy pills or drops at a drug or grocery store to help you digest lactose.
  • You can add lactase enzyme drops to milk before drinking
  • You can drink lactose-reduced milk

Points To Remember

  • Eat fewer foods with lactose in them, like milk, cheese, and ice cream
  • Find out if you can eat small amounts of food with lactose
  • Read labels on foods to find out if they have lactose in them
  • Use a special pill or liquid to help you digest foods with lactose
  • Eat enough foods with calcium, like broccoli

(Reprinted with permission from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)





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