Lactose intolerant people have a hard time digesting milk foods and drinks because of low levels or lack of lactase which is an enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose into fructose and galactose which are important for the body. Lactose intolerance should not be considered an allergy. Lactose intolerance is a digestive disability which does not completely stop you from taking milk products.
Intolerance is not an allergy
Lactose intolerance is not the same as a milk allergy. Lactase deficiency is more of an uncomfortable condition. People who notice they have problems digesting milk products or have been diagnosed as lactose intolerant can learn which milk products like foods and drinks they can eat without discomfort and which ones they should completely avoid.
A food allergy, on the other hand, is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the immune system of your body and can be life-threatening. People who are allergic to certain foods must completely avoid them all together whereas people with food intolerance can eat small amounts of the foods in question once in a while without experiencing any symptoms.
Managing lactose intolerance
There is no specific treatment to make the body produce more lactase enzymes but the symptoms of lactose intolerance can be controlled through diet or supplements and vitamins. Lactose tolerance in people vary. Some people can have a glass of milk or ice cream and will not experience the symptoms while others may suffer the symptoms from just taking a tablespoon of milk in a cup of coffee. Other people have serious symptoms and completely stop taking milk. They can substitute milk with cheese and yogurt which have a lower lactose count compared to milk.
Where is lactose found?
Common foods that have lactose include evaporated and condensed milk, light, whipping, and sour creams, ice creams, some cheese like cottage cheese, yogurts and butter. Lactose may also be added to some frozen, canned, boxed or other prepared foods such as bread and other bakery products, instant potatoes and soups, mixes for cookies, biscuits, pancakes and cakes and frozen dinners.
Tablet and drops with lactase enzymes are available to help people who are lactose intolerant digest foods that have lactose. Lactose-reduced and lactose-free products are widely available and most of them have the exact same nutritional value as the foods and drinks with lactose.
If you would like to know more about food intolerance testing then please check out www.allergytestaustralia.com and find out how we can help you to feel better in yourself and look after your health.