Not just to avoid milk, as there are many people who really hate the taste of milk and don't feel like having it. This is a real problem or a disorder we can say where one cannot digest the dairy products or to be more specific cannot digest the enzyme present in it called lactose. So this is also known as lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance is the most common carbohydrate intolerance and affects people of all age groups. Intolerance to lactose is caused by a deficiency of lactase, the enzyme that digests sugar in the milk. Lactose that is not hydrolysed into galactose and glucose (the simpler form of lactose) remains in the gut and acts osmotically to draw water into the intestine.bacteria ferments on undigested lactose generating lactic acid and other organic acids, carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas, this result in bloating, flatulence, cramps and diarrhea.
Congenial causes; lactase deficiency may occur because of congenital absence of lactase, due to mutation in the genes which are responsible for producing lactose, this is a very rare cause and begins shortly after birth. Secondary cause; it is due to the most common cause after childhood and along with the lactase. For eg celiac sprue, ileitis, colitis, inflammation of jejunal mucosa. Developmental cause; this is the most common cause that occurs after childhood and persists in adulthood, referred to as “Adult Type Hypolactasia”. Deficiency is mainly because of decrease in the amount of lactase. Lactose intolerance test (LIT) is used for measuring lactose intolerance.
Lactose is better tolerated as a part of the meal then when taken separately. For example if taken in the form of porridge/custard it is better tolerated. Moderate tolerance of lactose is 12gm of lactose (200ml milk) but again it depends on individuals. Modified sources of lactose and it is also a source of vitamin D, calcium and riboflavin. So, care should be taken for the nutrients, care should be taken while selecting the food items as some foods have hidden lactose. For example bread baked products, breakfast cereals, salad dressings and soup etc. so, this food should be restricted from the diet or read the labels on the products.
Quantification of milk lactose is an important consideration that is at a time milk cannot be given more than 50ml. Lactase enzyme is now available in the form of drugs and pouches that can be added to the milk to hydrolyse the lactose.
The amount of lactose an individual can tolerate varies from person to person. Many people with lactose intolerance can tolerate some lactose-containing foods by adjusting the type, amount and timing of these foods. Add new foods one at a time; decrease the amount, or eliminate the food, if symptoms occur. Most people with lactose intolerance do not need to avoid all dairy products, for example; cultured yogurt contains live cultures that naturally help digest lactose. Many people with lactose intolerance tolerate cultured yogurt well. Check labels to see if a yogurt contains live cultures. Hard cheese is low in lactose and is usually well tolerated. If you wish to drink milk, try taking small amounts (1⁄2 cup at a time). Many people can tolerate up to 2 cups of milk per day when taken in smaller servings spread out over the course of the day. Foods that contain lactose may be better tolerated if they are eaten with a meal.
Many products can be used as an alternative for milk like; Almond milk feels just like regular cow milk when it comes to texture. However, almond milk’s color is beige and it literally tastes like almonds. The only downside is that 8 oz of almond milk only contains 1 gram of protein. But thankfully you can actually get more calcium and Vitamin D and E than regular cow milk.
Coconut milk comes from the meat of the coconut and should not be confused for coconut water. Texture-wise coconut milk is quite creamy just like cow whole milk. It’s quite fatty and has little protein. The one benefit is that it contains medium triglycerides which is a fat that can boost your metabolism which can help promote weight loss.
One thing that separates hemp milk from milk and lactose free milk is the fact that it is derived from hemp seeds which are high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. The only thing missing is enough calcium. Texture-wise, hemp milk is thick and a little gritty.
Lactose free milk is extremely high in calcium (one serving is almost enough calcium for your recommended daily intake). Plus lactose-free milk contains a number of beneficial nutrients such as potassium, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin A, K, and B. This is the one lactose free milk alternative that isn’t vegan like these
This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Shrushti Mehta.
We thank her for her research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about health and nutrition being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.