Lactose Intolerance (cont.)
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As mentioned previously, the most important part of treating lactose intolerance are dietary changes to limit the intake of foods containing lactose. Usually, complete elimination of lactose from the diet is not necessary, as most people with this condition can tolerate some amount of lactose in their diet depending on the degree of lactase deficiency.
The highest concentration of lactose per serving is found in milk and ice cream. Cheese generally contains less lactose per serving than milk and ice cream. It is also important to note that lactose may be found in many food products other than milk and dairy. Some of the common foods that may contain lactose are:
It is prudent to read the list of ingredients on food labels to find out if lactose is present in food products.
Occasionally, lactose may be found in certain medications. Intake of these medications may cause side effects similar to the symptoms of lactose intolerance. For example, some birth control pills may contain lactose as an ingredient.
Among milk products, yogurt may be better tolerated by people with lactose intolerance; this is because bacteria that are used in preparing yogurt contain lactase and are able to split lactose into glucose and galactose before yogurt is ingested.
Bhupinder Anand, MD
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