Lactose intolerance is a condition in which the body produces insufficient amount of the enzyme lactase. Dairy products contain the sugar, lactose, which is broken down by this enzyme. There dearth of lactase therefore is problematic and leads to lactose intolerance.
People suffering from lactose intolerance can experience different issues when they consume dairy products. Bloating, cramps, discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting etc. are some of the problems that can occur. Moreover, as lactose is not broken down by the body, it is passed out by the body, but not before the bacteria in the colon feast on it and pass off gas.
Unlike the milk-protein allergy, lactose intolerance is not life threatening. But it is, highly inconvenient. If you feel the onset of the symptoms, talk to the best Internal medicine specialist in Karachi to ascertain the presence of the disease prior to jumping the gun.
Living with lactose intolerance
Once the problem is established, it can be worked out with. 25% of the global population suffers from lactose intolerance so there are plenty other people on the same boat as you. Following on certain guidelines can ease the pain of this process.
Make peace with lack of dairy
Dairy is the biggest source of lactose, naturally, it is important to cut dairy from life. It is not always the case that you will have to completely cut it out from your life; taken in small doses, body can tolerate some lactose.
However, trouble looms when the body is accosted with the onslaught of large amounts of lactose. Hence, the love for diary might have to be put at back bench.
Test the limits of the body
Taking a tolerance test can be extremely helpful. It will give you can idea of how much lactose your body can take.
Try taking some milk on empty stomach. If symptoms do not appear, you have met your threshold. According to experts, your body can at least take 8 ounces or so at a time. So, start from there and increase intake until you experience laxative effect or gas or bloating etc.
Once you know who much you can eat, you can incorporate at least that much diary product in your diet without fear of ill-events.
Opt for dairy with less lactose
Milk has the most amount of lactose and does most damage. On the other hand, yogurt, cheese, sour cream etc. contain much less lactose in them. Hence, people suffering from lactose intolerance can satiate their dairy cravings with these products and let the milk be.
Take milk with other foods
Do not drink milk on an empty stomach. Instead take it with meals to minimize the ill-effects of lactose intolerance in the body.
Lactose free dairy
Not all dairy products have lactose in them. Some are specially formulated for the lactose intolerant people. Acquiring taste for them can help with the situation.
Moreover, plant-based milks like almond milk, coconut milk are also entirely lactose free and nutritious nonetheless.
Eat hard cheese
It is best to steer clear of the soft cheeses, due to their high lactose content. On the other hand, hard cheeses have little or no lactose on them so are great for everyone.
Probiotics can help
Eating probiotics helps to ease the symptoms of lactose intolerance in some people, but the effectiveness is subjective!
Milk is an important source of calcium. Hence, in order to stay healthy in spite of lactose intolerance, make sure that you eat foods like green vegetables that are also good sources of calcium. Supplements can also be taken at the discretion of the expert.
Many supplements are present that have lactase produced by the bacteria. These supplements can be taken to increase the amount of lactase in the body so you can eat some dairy.
Moreover, you can also directly add these to the dairy product you want to consume so that the enzyme breaks down lactose before it gets to the stomach. The effectiveness of these supplement is still, however, up for debate.
Avoid excessive dining out
It’s not always possible to tell what ingredients the chef at the restaurant used to prepare food. Hence, rather risking being taken off-guard, avoid excessive eating out.
Workout what is best for you
Every person has a different threshold for lactose in the body. The response to lactose intake is also very individualistic in nature. Hence, you can also explore and figure out what works best for you through process of elimination and trial and error.
It is a big advantage of lactose intolerance that it does not present any grave danger to the health and thus experimentation yields important information at best and discomfort at best. You can work out your plan with the top Internal medicine specialist in Karachi as well, to devise the best possible strategy for you.