What is Lactose?
Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in most of the dairy products. Lactase is an enzyme in our gut, which helps in breaking down lactose.
What is Lactose Intolerance?
People suffering from lactose intolerance do not have enough lactase to fully digest lactose, which then passes to the large intestine. The bacteria present in the gut cause fermentation of the lactose resulting in the symptoms of lactose intolerance. This leads to digestive distress in consuming dairy products and this digestive distress is termed as Lactose Intolerance. There are certain intestinal disorders which can decrease lactase. Also, lactase production decreases after the age of 2 years.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose intolerance leads to an increase in the frequency of stool and also the fermentation of the lactose leads to gas production. Because of this, the common signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance are: diarrhea, pain in abdomen, constipation, bloated feeling and nausea. These entire symptoms can also result from any other illness. Therefore before restricting dairy product from the diet, it is important to get to an accurate diagnosis and confirm or rule out lactose intolerance.
Can Lactose Intolerant People Eat Yogurt?
Yes, lactose intolerant people can eat yogurt, at least some of them. If you are lactose intolerant, it does not mean that you should bid adieu to dairy products forever. The lactose intolerance varies in people, as to the amount of lactose they can tolerate. Some people can even digest a small cup of milk, in spite of being intolerant to lactose. Fermented milk products, as are easily digestible, can be eaten by the people sensitive to lactose. So, YES, people who are lactose intolerant can consume yogurt.
Yogurt can be consumed by a lactose intolerant person as it bears the following properties:
- Yogurt is low on lactose, as some of the lactose in it has already been broken down. This makes yogurt easy to digest by lactose intolerant people as well.
- Greek yogurt can also be a good option in dairy product for a lactose intolerant person. In Greek yogurt, the watery part of the milk is strained out during processing, which also removes much of lactose in it; thus making it possible to consume it by a lactose intolerant person.
- The dairy products are a rich source of calcium for humans, which is required for bone growth. Removing them totally takes away a rich source of calcium from the daily meals. Yogurt along with being an easily digestible dairy product, is a rich source of calcium and can be consumed even if you are intolerant to lactose.
- Yogurt contains high levels of lactase enzyme, which help digest the lactose. Eating yogurt raises the level of this enzyme which a lactose intolerant individual has a lack of.
Yogurt adds healthy bacteria in the gut, which plays role in maintaining the digestive health. The gut bacteria metabolize the food we eat.
Other Than Yogurt, What Other Dairy Foods Can A Lactose Intolerant Person Eat?
Along with yogurt, there are some other processed dairy products such as aged cheese, kefir or quark which can be consumed by a lactose intolerant person. Many of lactose intolerant people can even start the dairy product intake, first in small quantity and then can gradually increase it if no negative symptom is observed. Supplemental lactase is also available, which can be taken if a person really wants to enjoy the dairy products without experiencing any unpleasant symptoms.
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