Lactose: the Sugar Your Body Loves to Hate

photo by Sindy (Flickr)

photo by Sindy (Flickr)

Did you know most humans eventually become lactose intolerant in their lifetime?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar from Milk and dairy products. Basically, the small intestine produces enzymes to break down food that we ingest. The lactase enzyme is responsible for breaking down lactose. However, after infancy nearly 65% of the human population has difficulty digesting lactose.

So if you’re one of the lucky few who can drink milk and eat cheese without feeling bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable, you are part of a small population - enjoy!

But for the rest of us, how can we avoid feeling gassy or bloated after having a slice of pizza or a milkshake?

#1) Avoid all dairy

Substitute dairy milk for your cereal and coffee with Lactaid (still cow’s milk but with much less lactose!), soy, almond, or cashew milk. They come in a lot of different flavors like chocolate, vanilla, sweetened and unsweetened.

#2) Go for lighter lactose foods

Foods like Isolated Whey protein, hard parmesan cheese, muenster, and cream cheese tend to have low lactose levels which means they may be easier on your tummy. Because much of the sugar is removed in the making of these types of milk products, some may be higher in fat and protein.

#3) Make sure your yogurt has bacteria

Yogurt naturally has “live and active cultures” like lactobacillus which are probiotic and may help with digestion. Try it out for yourself to see how natural bacteria in yogurt makes your gut feel!

#4) Take lactase pills

Of course, if you just cant give up that pizza, we understand! But don't suffer, take a lactase enzyme before you eat. You can usually find these at your local pharmacy or drug store. 

Sources:

http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/lactose-intolerance