Following a Lactose Intolerance Diet
A lactose intolerance diet can be difficult to follow because the sugar lactose is present in many different foods we eat, most notably milk. Lactose is broken down by the enzyme lactase, located in the lining of the small intestine, which splits the lactose into two more simple components - galactose and glucose. This allows the body to more easily absorb and digest the proper nutrients.
When we are babies, our lactase production is very high because milk is such a large portion of our diet. However, as we age, the production of lactase in our body may decrease, which can lead to lactose intolerance. People who are lactose intolerant do not produce sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which means the lactose they ingest will not be digested properly. When this is the case, a lactose intolerance diet should be considered.
A lactose intolerance diet means that all lactose products are either rarely ingested or eliminated permanently from your daily eating. These foods include, but are not limited to, milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, creamed vegetables, pancakes, waffles, eggs, toffee, and caramel. The amount of lactose a person can digest varies with each individual, so there is no universal way to discern the proper amount your body can handle. One suggestion would be to record a food journal to gauge your reactions to certain foods.
Lactose intolerance can cause many uncomfortable symptoms, which may include nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. However, it will not damage your intestines. You can alleviate the symptoms of lactose intolerance by eliminating lactose from your diet or reducing your intake to levels your body can tolerate.
Remember, there are a variety of food products offered in lactose-free forms, just make sure to thoroughly read the labels to ensure there is no lactose before eating. To set up your lactose intolerance diet, you should consult with your physician.