Every year, May 21 is celebrated as “World Milk Day” in our country in order to increase milk consumption and to inform people about the benefits of milk.
The sugar called lactose in milk causes symptoms such as bloating, gas or nausea after consuming dairy products. If your digestive system cannot tolerate milk, you may have an intolerance to lactose, that is, lactose intolerance. This means your body has trouble breaking down lactose, a type of sugar found in milk. Switching to lactose-free diet options after doctor’s control can help alleviate these symptoms.
What is lactose-free milk?
Lactose-free milk is a dairy product that does not contain lactose sugar. Lactose; It is a type of sugar found in foods such as milk and dairy products such as ice cream and soft cheeses that may be difficult for some people to digest.
Food producers produce lactose-free milk by adding the lactose-breaking enzyme called lactase to normal cow’s milk. Lactase is an enzyme normally found in the body that breaks down lactose into more digestible building blocks. Without the lactase enzyme produced by the small intestine, lactose remains unprocessed, and when it interacts with bacteria in the large intestine, irritating symptoms such as bloating, gas, nausea and diarrhea occur.
Lactose-free milk has almost the same taste, texture and nutritional profile as regular milk. It can be used in the same way as regular milk.
Contains the same nutrients!
Lactose-free milk helps digest lactose
Although it contains lactase to be, it has the same impressive nutritional profile as regular milk. Like regular milk, the lactose-free alternative contains a great source of protein providing around 8 grams in a 1 cup (240 ml) serving. It is also high in important micronutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and riboflavin.
Many types are also enriched with vitamin D, an essential vitamin that is involved in various aspects of your health but is only found in a few food sources.
Therefore, you can replace lactose-free milk with regular milk without missing any of the essential nutrients that regular milk provides. Like regular milk, lactose-free milk is a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and vitamin D.
Gastrointestinal consumption of lactose-free dairy products
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactase, which is a carbohydrate found in milk or dairy products, due to the lack of lactase enzyme required for digestion or insufficient enzyme activity.
Lactose is also found in breast milk, and almost everyone is born with the ability to digest lactose, namely lactose tolerance. For this reason, the rate of lactose intolerance in children under 5 years of age is very low. In adulthood, lactose intolerance is seen in 75% of the society, and this rate may differ from country to country due to genetic diversity.
When people with lactose intolerance consume lactose foods, they experience digestive problems such as abdominal pain, indigestion, bloating, and this negatively affects the quality of life of the person. These symptoms should not be confused as they are similar to the symptoms of many gastrointestinal diseases. Other conditions that can produce similar symptoms include irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Although it is often diagnosed with clinical suspicion, it is necessary to make a definite diagnosis of lactose intolerance by using the diagnostic methods used in lactose intolerance in case of doubt. For treatment, it is recommended to change the diet in patients who are thought to have lactose intolerance by the gastroenterology physician. To list the methods to be applied;
• Eliminating lactose-containing foods from the diet
• Consuming low-lactose foods (lactose-free milk and low-lactose yogurt, etc.)
• Consuming lactase enzyme with foods containing lactose
• consuming yogurt instead of milk
Although lactose intolerance is not life-threatening, its symptoms cause serious discomfort and reduce the quality of life. However, the symptoms disappear spontaneously after removing the lactose from the person’s diet.