People with lactose intolerance will usually stay away from milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance is the difficulty some people have in being able digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products . Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of lactase, an important enzyme.
Some people with lactose intolerance, however, can deal with small amounts of lactose, rather than avoid these foods altogether. Reactions might include abdominal pain or bloating, nausea, or diarrhea. Selecting foods and beverages to avoid is pretty straightforward. Most people don’t realize, however, that milk and dairy products aren’t the only foods that have lactose in them.
People with lactose intolerance should pay attention to food labels because milk and milk products are often added to processed foods in order to extend their shelf life. Watching labels is all you need to do, but be aware that many items on the following list may contain small amounts of milk products:
– bread and other baked goods
– mixes to make biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and mashed potatoes
– frozen waffes, pancakes, pastries
– potato and other chips
– processed meats: lunch meats, bacon, sausage, hot dogs
– creamers and whipped toppings
– protein bars and shakes
– boxed cereals
– and others
In addition to words on a label such as milk, milk products, lactose,dry milk solids, etc. , people with lactose intolerance also need to watch for ingredients such as whey, curds, and nonfat milk powder. Watching ingredients, however, is not limited to foods and beverages. Some over the counter medications and prescription drugs have lactose in some form. Birth control pills and stomach relief medications are among the most likely lactose culprits.
People with varying degrees of lactose intolerance can talk to their physicians and/or seek the guidance of licensed nutritionists or dieticians. Other foods and beverages can provide calcium when milk and milk products cannot be consumed. A dietician or physician can make recommendations on whether food sources of calcium or supplements are best for the individual.
Read labels on processed foods and over the counter medications. Make sure your pharmacist is aware of the lactose intolerance. Be at ease asking questions in restaurants when ingredients are uncertain or may be masked by other ingredients. There is no need to feel the discomfort of lactose intolerance if you simply pay attention to food labeling in addition to avoid the more obvious milk and milk products.