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Lactose-free milk: good for everyone?

  1. Milk, chocolate milk, flavored milk drinks… All these dairy products contain lactose. Not everyone can tolerate this milk sugar equally well. About 10 percent of the Dutch population has lactose intolerance and develop complaints after drinking milk products. No worries: nowadays there are also dairy products for sale where the lactose has been removed.

  1. Normally, lactose from milk products is broken down by the enzyme lactase. In case of lactose intolerance, no or insufficient lactase is present in the small intestine. The result: lactose enters the large intestine undigested. The intestinal bacteria know what to do with this: they convert the lactose, which can produce gases or acids. And they stimulate the intestines.

Diarrhea and stomach cramps

  1. With a severe form of lactose intolerance you can get diarrhea. With a milder form you get stomach cramps or bloating. But even if you have other complaints such as flatulence and nausea, this can indicate lactose intolerance. There are several tests to really make the diagnosis. These tests can be done by the doctor and in the hospital. Once diagnosed, it's smart to avoid lactose afterward.

Lactose is found in the following milk products:

  1. Full fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk and buttermilk goat's milk, sheep's milk, horse's milk and donkey's milk soft goat and sheep cheese chocolate milk, yogurt drink and fruit dairy drinks processed cheese, cheese spread, foreign cheese, fresh cheese, hüttenkäse, cottage cheese. yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir custard, porridge, pudding, mousse whipped cream, sour cream and crème fraîche Lactose can also occur in medicines, vitamin preparations and sweeteners. In these products it is usually used in very small amounts as a filler. Most people with lactose intolerance do not get any complaints from this.

A little lactose is often possible

  1. A majority of people with lactose intolerance can still tolerate a little lactose (about 10-12 grams per day), especially if they spread this over the day. That corresponds to a glass of milk, yogurt or dessert with every meal. Sour milk products naturally contain less milk sugar. That is why products such as yogurt and buttermilk are generally better tolerated. Hard Dutch cheese is even lactose-free. How much lactose your body can tolerate is a matter of trial and error, as sensitivity varies from person to person.

Real dairy without lactose

  1. But what if you love a cafe latte or a glass of cool milk with your sandwich? Then nowadays there are also cow's milk products from which the lactose has been removed. These milk products contain only trace amounts of lactose. By means of a special technology, the naturally present lactose in the milk is split in advance into the components lactose and galactose. This also means that people who cannot tolerate galactose (people who suffer from the rare metabolic disease galactosemia, for example) cannot tolerate these types of products. The removal of the lactose has no influence on the calorie values ​​of the milk. All natural nutrients, vitamins and minerals are simply retained. However, the percentage of lactose in the milk has been reduced to a residual percentage of less than 0.1 grams per 100 grams of milk. Most people with a lactose intolerance can therefore drink these products.

Plant-based alternatives

  1. There are also vegetable alternatives to milk, such as soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hazelnut milk. There is also lactose-free cream, yogurt and cream cheese on the market. Plenty of choice, for people with a lactose intolerance.

Cow's milk allergy

  1. Lactose intolerance is not the same as a cow's milk protein allergy. Intolerance means that a certain substance is not well tolerated (in this case lactose). The body does not produce antibodies in the case of lactose intolerance. This is the case with an allergy. With a cow's milk allergy, the body reacts allergic to the proteins in cow's milk. The complaints are also very different and are usually not limited to the abdomen and intestines. Lactose-free dairy is therefore not suitable for people with a cow's milk protein allergy.

  2. Lactose intolerance is not the same as a cow's milk protein allergy. Intolerance means that a certain substance is not well tolerated (in this case lactose). The body does not produce antibodies in case of lactose intolerance. This is the case with an allergy. With a cow's milk allergy, the body reacts allergic



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