Can You Gain Weight If You Are Lactose Intolerant?

Lactose intolerance is a digestive ailment characterized by the inability of the body to digest lactose, a specific type of sugar mainly found in milk or milk products. The symptoms of lactose intolerance gradually appear in two to three hours after consumption of food containing lactose. These symptoms can be bloated stomach, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, pain, and cramps in the abdomen, rumbling in the stomach and diarrhea. Thus, lactose intolerant people have to avoid milk or milk products that may result in nutritional deficiencies leading to slow or no weight gain.

Lactose intolerance is a condition marked by the deficiency of an intestinal enzyme lactase needed for proper digestion of lactose (mainly found in milk or milk products). It breaks down into two components of sugar, glucose, and galactose. The components of lactose get absorbed into the blood for further body utilization in the form of energy.

An enzyme named lactase is secreted in the small intestine of our body that digests lactose into these sugar components. Due to lack of the lactase, lactose is not digested in the stomach and it is finally digested by bacteria in the small intestine resulting in the formation of gas and other symptoms of lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance can happen at any age but it is more common in babies and young children.

Can You Gain Weight If You Are Lactose Intolerant?

The symptoms of lactose intolerance depend on the sensitivity of an individual towards lactose and the amount of lactose produced in the small intestine. Each lactose intolerant person can tolerate lactose in a different manner. Some lactose intolerant people can bear a certain amount of lactose and some cannot bear a trace amount of lactose.

The Symptoms And Signs Of Lactose Intolerance Are

  • Pain and cramps in the abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Can You Gain Weight If You Are Lactose Intolerant?

Lactose intolerant people have to cut down milk or milk products from the diet to control gastric symptoms. Milk and dairy products are the rich sources of calcium, protein, and Vitamin A, B12 and D. Lactose plays an important role in the absorption of other minerals and vitamins. The lactose intolerant people face a common problem that they cannot get the right amount of vital vitamins and minerals from their diet. They suffer from nutritional deficiencies and other related ailments. This may lead to the difficulties in weight gain in a healthy manner. Gaining a healthy weight also becomes difficult for the babies and young children who cannot tolerate lactose.

Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are the energy providing nutrients for the body. These nutrients must be derived from the food we consume in a balanced manner for a proper healthy weight gain. Digestive enzyme deficiencies hinder the necessary calorie absorption in the body. This lack of nutrition cannot support healthy weight gain.

If You Are Lactose Intolerant And You Are Facing Difficulties To Gain Weight, The Following Tips May Help You-

-Avoid milk or milk products to reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance.

-Take lactase enzyme supplements before you consume lactose-containing food.

-Avoid any lactose-containing food when you are taking milk or milk products in the same meal.

-Lean proteins must be introduced in the diet for healthy weight gain. It can be derived from tofu, beans, soy milk, chicken breast, etc.

-High-calorie fruits and vegetables can also aid in healthy weight gain. Bananas, raisins, dried fruits, pineapple, peas, corn, squashes, and potatoes are the best options for weight gain.

-High carbohydrate diet may also enrich you with high calories for proper weight gain.


Lactose intolerant people may suffer from nutritional deficiencies especially deficiency of calcium and Vitamin D. This may create difficulties for them to gain healthy weight. The high-calorie diet including lean proteins, carbohydrates, fresh fruits, and vegetables are the best options to gain weight.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 28, 2023

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