If you are lactose sensitive, eating a lactose-sensitive diet doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating all lactose. Individuals vary greatly in their tolerance to lactose, but usually can eat or drink some lactose without experiencing symptoms. (Note: Lactose sensitivity is different from milk allergy. Individuals allergic to milk should avoid even small amounts of milk or dairy protein, regardless of the amount of lactose in the food.)
Try these tips to enjoy milk and milk products with “less sensitivity” for a lactose-sensitive diet:
- Eat smaller servings of dairy products with a meal, not on an empty stomach.
- Choose fermented milk products, such as yogurt, which contain live and active cultures that break down lactose.
- Choose aged natural cheeses, such as cheddar and Colby, which contain almost no lactose.
- Special Tip: Softer cheeses and processed cheeses have some lactose—usually 1 to 4 grams per serving. The amount is included in the grams of sugars listed on the Nutrition Facts panel on the package label.
- Read ingredient lists on food labels. In general, ingredients such as milk, milk products, nonfat milk, milk solids, whey, whey protein concentrate or sodium caseinate mean the product contains some amount of lactose and may trigger those with a lactose sensitivity.
- Try commercially available lactase preparations to help break down lactose in milk and other foods and beverages that contain lactose.
- Ask a physician or registered dietitian (R.D.) to help determine the amount of lactose per meal that is acceptable for you.
These tips can help those on a lactose-sensitive diet enjoy milk products while avoiding digestive disrupt, but another way to manage your lactose sensitivity is by avoiding milk products entirely. Check out our collection of plant-based and vegan recipes for some tasty ideas!