We often hear that it is good to drink milk as it is a source of calcium. Hence, calcium keeps our bones healthy. But to some people drinking milk results in unpleasant body reactions. We call this lactose intolerance (LI). It is the lack of ability to tolerate lactose.
1. Lactose refers to the sugar found in milk
Mammals like cow, goat, sheep, and even us, humans give off it off with the breast milk. It is milk sugar. If the body can’t break it down, it will cause the symptoms. Such symptoms will make you unease.
2. Lack of lactase causes the symptoms of LI
Our body makes lactase. It is the one that breaks down the lactose that we intake. So, if the body can’t give enough amount of it, you will suffer the symptoms.
In this condition, the lactose that is not broken down interact with the bacteria. Because of this event, signs and symptoms occur.
3. It comes from dairy
Dairy or any food made from milk can trigger symptoms. Most of our dairy products came from mammal’s milk. Examples of milk products are cheese, ice cream, and yogurt.
4. Common Signs
Symptoms of dairy intolerance can go from mild to severe. Examples of these symptoms are:
- Stomach pain or cramps
Signs of lactose intolerance occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after the intake.
5. Adults can Suffer
One in ten adults experiences LI symptoms. So, LI is not as common as you think. This ratio comes from self-diagnosis, which suggests a possible mistake. It is better to talk to a doctor than decide on yourself whether you have it. Most symptoms of LI also show in other diseases or conditions.
6. You can still drink milk
People with LI can still drink and eat foods with milk not comes animals. Not all milk sold came from animals. Examples of milk with no lactose are soy milk and almond milk. They do not have the milk sugar because they came from plants.
Aside from those examples, there is another option, which is lactose-free milk. Hence, this milk still has the same nutrients, but it does not have the milk sugar.
Moreover, they added lactase in cow’s milk. By doing so, even before it is eaten or drunk, the lactose has broken down. Also, it’s taste, texture, and nutrients are almost the same as regular milk. Now, you won’t have to worry about not getting protein because this milk is still an excellent source for it.
Some nutrients our bodies need comes from milk. Research says that one can still drink 12 grams of milk sugar (about 1 cup of milk). It could show no signs or mild symptoms.
7. It is an individual condition
Everyone has a different amount of lactose that they can tolerate. However, different foods have different amounts of milk sugar. So, symptoms may vary from person to person.
8. Common in Adults
Moreover, it can happen to adults more than kids. Dairy intolerance is rare for babies and infants. It shows when one becomes an adult.
9. Common specific group of people
There are ethnic groups where this condition is common. For instance, African, Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian are some.
10. Milk Allergies in Babies
People born at premature birth have a higher risk of LI. Also, it can be inherited from the parent’s genes.
11. It is different from milk or dairy allergy
LI involves our stomach and small intestines. Likewise, a dairy allergy involves our immune system. This condition is common for kids below four years old. Symptoms of this allergy include:
- Rash or hives
- Swollen lips and face
- Tight throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Blood in poop (especially for babies)
The best way to test if someone has LI is to remove dairy products from the diet. The range must be 1 to 2 weeks. Aside from that, a blood test is also offered. To be safe from it, one must read food labels. Some foods, like canned tuna, energy drinks, and chewing gum, might even contain milk. It happens during a food process where milk products are made with other goods.
These foods do not have sugar milk but are still rich in calcium:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Canned salmon or sardines
- Almonds, dried beans, Brazil nuts