Lactose is the sugar found mainly in milk and dairy products. If your body struggles to digest this sugar then it’s likely you’re one of billions (yes, billions) of people suffering from lactose intolerance.
Knowing the signs of lactose intolerance
The signs of lactose intolerance typically happen within two hours after consuming a food containing lactose. Symptoms include: wind, diarrhoea, bloated stomach, stomach cramps & pains, stomach rumbling, feeling sick. The amount of lactose you’ve consumed will affect the severity of your symptoms. If any of these symptoms sound familiar after you’ve drank milk or consumed other forms of dairy, then speak to your GP.
How does lactose intolerance occur?
It’s all to do with something called lactase. This is a substance in the body that breaks down lactose into two different kinds of sugars called glucose and galactose. If you’re lactose intolerant, your body struggles to produce enough lactase to break down the lactose you’ve consumed. Instead, the lactose remains in the digestive system where it’s fermented by bacteria and that causes gases that bring on lactose intolerant symptoms.
Is lactose intolerance an allergy?
No it isn’t. Food allergies and food intolerances are two very different issues. Allergies are caused by your immune system reacting to certain types of food. It only takes a trace of the allergen to cause a reaction which is likely to be serious. Food intolerances are the result of digesting food that causes a bad physical reaction – the symptoms aren’t life threatening. You can find out more about the differences between food allergies and food intolerances here.
Some experts believe that lactose intolerance is related to how long ago a person’s ancestors were introduced to dairy products. In the UK, people of African-Caribbean or Asian decent are commonly affected.
Lactose intolerance can develop at any age however, many cases first develop in people aged 20 to 40. That being said, babies and young children can also be affected.
Foods that contain lactose
Cow’s milk is a major source of lactose but there are others to watch out for too. Dairy products like cream, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream and butter also contain lactose. (Some in low quantities which may make it more tolerable for those with lactose intolerance†.) Other foods that may contain lactose include:
• Salad cream, salad dressing and mayonnaise
• Peanut butter
• Boiled sweets
• Peanut butter
• Some crisps (who knew?)
• Some types of bread and other baked goods
• Some processed meats, like ham
How to treat lactose intolerance
Unfortunately, there is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can control the symptoms by reducing the food and drinks you eat that contain lactose. Fortunately, that’s something we can help with. Almond Breeze® is our milk alternative which is lactose free (also dairy-free and soya free). The range is made up of:
Anything you use cow’s milk for, there’s no reason Almond Breeze® can’t be used instead (in morning cereal, coffee etc). It’s a simple switch and we’ve got loads of recipes to help you on your way. If you’re lactose intolerant and thought ice cream was a no go, think again. Our very own ice cream recipe contains no dairy whatsoever, why not treat yourself and try it?
Milk based smoothies are usually drinks that you have to miss out on. However, our dairyfree smoothie recipes allow you to drink as many smoothies as you like – plus they’re all super delicious! From our cleanse smoothie to our strawberries and cream smoothie, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
For more lactose free recipe inspiration, take a look at our inspiring selection here.
Information from Goodness+ is not intended to be used for medical purposes or as a substitute for professional medical or health advice.