Friday, March 30, 2012

Lactose Intolerance: what to look for, what to eat/drink!

This is a guest post by my friend Nancy Ortiz. She blogs over at This article is great information for my family. My son and I both suffer from being lactose intolerant. Thank you Nancy!

Lactose intolerance is NOT a food allergy even though it is commonly referred as one. Lactose,
a sugar, is found naturally in animal milk (humans, too). If you look on a food label you will
see sugar listed in grams. The average 12 grams of sugar, listed on an 8 ounce serving of regular
milk, is from lactose.

Lactose consists of 2 sugars "joined" together - glucose and galactose. The body produces the
enzyme lactase, which breaks those 2 sugars apart in the small intestine. After age 2, many
people (most commonly Asian, African, and Native American populations) will have a decrease
in the production of lactase. After a large intake of dairy products, in a short period of time,
these individuals may experience gas, abdominal pain and even diarrhea. The gas increase is
caused by the bacteria in the large intestine "feeding" on the lactose. In more severe cases,
because of the presence of lactose, water may be "pulled" into the large intestine thus causing

Most people, with lactose intolerance (many are still making some lactase), can tolerate
moderate amounts of lactose in their diet without any problems. Most studies show that up to
8 ounces of milk (or its equivalent in lactose content) can be tolerated at one meal. It is usually
tolerated better when it is taken with other foods, as opposed by itself.

1) Try Lactose-free milk, cheese or ice cream. The lactose has already been reduced by lactase
by the manufacturer. These products may taste sweeter because the sugars, glucose and
galactose, are sweeter apart then when they are "together".

2) Product and Lactose Content in grams (note serving sizes - amounts vary):
Milk (whole, 2%, 1%, Skim Milk) (8 oz cup) 12.47 grams
Yogurt (plain) (6 oz) 6 grams
Cottage Cheese, low fat, 2% milk fat (4 oz) 3.28 grams
Ice Cream (4 oz scoop= 1/2 cup) 2.92 grams
American Cheese, pasteurized, processed (1 oz - approx. 1 slice) 1.53 grams
Cream Cheese (1 oz) 0.91 grams
Sour Cream (1 Tbsp) 0.42 grams
Buttermilk Salad Dressing (lite) (2 Tbsp) 0.31 grams
Cheddar Cheese, sharp (1 oz) 0.07 grams
Swiss Cheese or Mozzarella (1 oz) 0.02 grams

Nancy Ortiz, MS, RD and