Lactose intolerance is a common condition that actually affects a large portion of the Western population. In fact, it turns out that the majority of humans are lactose intolerant – even if they aren’t aware of that fact. This is because the key enzyme that the body uses in order to break down lactose – an enzyme called lactase – may actually be the result of a relatively recent mutation. Thus, many people actually lack this enzyme and therefore can’t properly break down and absorb the sugars from dairy products. While we all produce lactase in our childhood, 75% of adults will see a reduction or a cessation of producing lactase once they reach a certain age.
This in itself is not a problem, but the issue comes when those sugars end up collecting in the small intestine. Here, they can then begin to curdle and create unwanted gas. This can then cause digestive complaints, stomach pain, bloating, wind and a range of other unwanted issues.
The prevalence of lactose intolerance is very much modulated by race and region. In some Asian countries, a whopping 90% of the population is lactose intolerant!
Lactose intolerance can vary in severity but whatever the case, those who suffer are best off trying to avoid foods that will trigger their allergy. With lactose being a big part of our Western diet though, this can be a difficult challenge. What’s more is that it is very easy to forget that a lot of foods contain lactose that might not be so obvious. In this comprehensive post, we’ll take a look at some of the foods you should avoid – including the obvious ones and the less-obvious ones. We’ll also discuss alternative options and ways you can get around those limitations.
The big one! Of course, the main thing that a lactose intolerant individual needs to avoid is milk. Sometimes this may be easier said than done, however, as milk is a popular ingredient in just about everything.
If you are someone who enjoys pouring milk on your cereal, or even just drinking milk from a glass, then this is something you will, of course, have to stop! What can you do instead? One option is to drink soy milk. This is milk made from soybeans, therefore meaning there is no dairy and no lactose involved.