Updated: Jan 9, 2020
For many years now my diet has been free from cows milk. I also promote alternative milks to my clients to promote a healthier digestive system such as almond milk.
The amount of lactose that can be tolerated will differ from person to person but consuming a large amount of milk will likely cause a trigger for most people affected. Milk is very high in lactose with around 30g in a pint.
The body digests lactose using a substance called lactase. This breaks down the lactose into two sugars called glucose and galactose, which can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough lactase, so lactose stays in the digestive system, where it's fermented by bacteria.
Lactose intolerance can develop at any age but it is most common to develop in people aged between 20 and 40 years.
The majority of the population are lactose intolerant to a degree and this can affect us in many ways such as:
• Excess wind
• Stomach Cramps
Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to abstain from all dairy products. Here are a list of some popular dairy products that should be safe to consume:
100g of butter contains as little as 0.1g of lactose.
Cheese is made by adding bacteria or acid to milk and then separating the cheese curds that form from the whey. This means that aged, hard cheeses are often very low in lactose. 100g of cheddar only contains trace amounts of lactose.
In a study conducted, it found when people with lactose intolerance ate probiotic yoghurt, they were able to digest 66% more lactose than when they drank milk. The yoghurt also caused fewer symptoms with only 20% reporting digestive issues compared with 80% that drank the milk. Greek and Greek style yoghurts are also lower in lactose because they are strained during processing.
Many individuals that are lactose intolerant avoid whey protein however the amount of lactose found in whey protein can vary.
There are 3 main types of whey protein:
• Concentrate contains around 80% protein and a small amount of lactose.
• Isolate contains around 90% protein and less than 1% lactose which means it should be safe to use by those that are lactose intolerant.
• Hydrolysate contains a similar amount of lactose as whey concentrate but some of the proteins in this powder are partially digested.