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Key things to know about lactose-free milk

Key things to know about lactose-free milk

Lactose and gluten are the new buzzwords in the health market. Despite their popularity, many people still need clarification on what the terminologies mean and their ramifications on specific health conditions. Also, since digestive problems are rising, there has been significant research and development in food alternatives. This article explores one of the most popular alternatives, i.e., lactose-free milk – and why it may be a sound choice for many.

What is lactose-free milk?
Many people experience abdominal issues such as bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain after consuming regular milk. This health condition is known as lactose intolerance. It occurs due to the sugar ‘lactose’ found in dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream, which can be difficult to digest. It may be caused due to genetic factors or due to illness or injury to the small intestine.

As a solution to this, companies began producing lactose-free milk, that is, regular milk without lactose. Most lactose-free milk contains 0.1% or less of lactose. This is achieved by processing milk to remove most of its lactose content and adding lactase to cow’s milk. Lactase helps break down lactose content in the body, making it easier for people to consume and digest milk. Although slightly sweeter, its nutrients (calcium, protein, and vitamin B) and texture profile are the same as regular milk.

Why switch to lactose-free milk?
Although most people are born with the ability to digest lactose, most (around 75%) tend to lose it over time, leading to lactose intolerance. It occurs due to the decreased activity of lactase in their bodies. Since lactose-free milk contains lactase, it’s often perceived as a good alternative to milk.

Is it suitable for everyone?
Although lactose-free milk may be ideal for those with lactose intolerance, it is still a dairy product. It can cause allergic reactions of varying intensities (such as hives, vomiting, etc.) among people allergic to dairy.

Those allergic to dairy or lead a plant-based lifestyle must opt for other plant-based milk alternatives such as soy, almond, oat, coconut, cashew, or rice milk.

Food sensitivities and allergies can often be tough to manage. Reading the nutrition and ingredient labels before purchasing can help one better understand their food and make sound decisions regarding their health.