A lot of people report of physical discomforts and later learn about the possibility that they are actually suffering from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is the body’s inability to digest lactose, the sugar form commonly found in milk and milk products. Basically, in order for lactose to be digested properly, it should be broken down into two simpler forms of sugar: glucose and galactose. This is done by lactase, an enzyme produced by the cells lining the intestines. However, some individuals have lactase deficiency which means that their digestive system do not produce enough lactase – or does not produce at all. The fermentation of lactose in the lower intestines thus causes lactose intolerance and triggers different symptoms such as stomach pains, bloating, excess gas, stomach cramps and nausea, among others.
Most people suffering from lactose intolerance have to do some adjustments to their diets. Those who experience severe discomforts may need to totally eliminate the consumption of dairy products and anything that contain lactose from their diet. Meanwhile, those who can tolerate moderate amounts of lactose may consume little quantities of milk products as long as they take it with other foods and meals.
Staying away from milk is not as easy as you may imagine. After all, milk is considered as the main source of calcium for humans and animals alike. You cannot totally eliminate milk because it is also used in other recipes especially desserts. What you can try doing is to prepare your milk-containing food, desserts in particular, at home – with the use of lactose-free milk. Drinking this product and lactose-reduced milk is also recommended.
What is lactose-free milk? Is there really such a thing as lactose-free milk?
You may wonder if there is actually this type of milk – how can milk be actually called milk if it does not contain lactose? You can find lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk at your local grocery store for sure. However, if you have the habit of reading through the labels of foods that you are about to purchase and consume, you might have noticed that most of these milks indicate that they are 99% lactose-free. Why is this?
It is true that there is no real dairy milk produced without lactose. This type of milk is basically regular cow’s milk added with the lactase enzyme during the processing phase. While the lactase is packed or canned together with the milk, it will already start breaking down the lactose into the simpler sugars glucose and galactose. Manufacturers could not claim that all of the lactose has been broken down in the process. Thus, all they could promise is that their product is 99% lactose-free.
Although lactose-free milk products are not totally free of lactase, you can be assured that the 1% wouldn’t be strong enough to trigger the discomforts that you suffer from lactose intolerance. If you wish to still continue drinking milk without the pain and gas, you should definitely opt for lactose-free or lactose-reduced milk.
However, if you have been so traumatized by the pains and discomfort that you have suffered from due to lactose intolerance, you can always opt for milk substitutes and alternatives. Soy milk, rice milk, almond milk and coconut milk are the most common milk alternatives that you can both drink and use for cooking, baking and preparing desserts such as ice cream.