Lactose is the sugar found in milk. If your body does not make any or enough lactase (the enzyme that processes lactose), the result is an inefficient breakdown of lactose or milk sugar. This creates stomach problems such as bloating, diarrhea, cramping, nausea, and/or flatulence. The simplest strategy is to take lactase drops or pills in order to supply your body with the enzyme you are lacking. You can also eliminate foods with lactose in them.
- Milk (all forms: regular, powdered, evaporated, sweetened, heavy cream, half-and-half)
- Sour cream
- White sauce
- Ice cream
- Some yogurt
Also look for ingredients containing lactose that are found in some cold cuts, hot dogs, sausages, peanut butter, and convenience foods with milk products. In addition, some sugar substitutes contain lactose, for example: Sweet n’ Low, Equal, dietetic candy, chewing gum, spices made with monosodium glutamate extenders.
Lactase enzyme is available in pill form or drops and is known as Lactaid, Lactrase, or Dairy Ease. It may be added to milk 24 hours before ingestion. In addition, a tablet form is available that can be ingested just before eating a meal containing lactose.
Check labels for lactose by looking for the terms milk, whey, and dry milk solids.
Supplemental drinks like Boost or Ensure are lactose-free.
Special commercially-prepared low-lactose foods, including milk, ice cream, and cottage cheese, are available in some supermarkets.
Lactobacillus acidophilus milk is better tolerated than milk, although there is individual variation. It is best to consume unsweetened almond, coconut, cashew, rice or other non-dairy “milk” drink with no lactose and higher calcium.