Eating lactose-free can be nutritious and delicious! Read more about lactose and whether a lactose-free diet might be right for you in our previous post.
Nutritional benefits of milk
Dairy products offer many essential nutrients including protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and phosphorus.
There are certainly many nutritious options when choosing lactose-free foods.
When following lactose-free diet, it is important to keep these nutrients in mind and choose nutritionally similar lactose-free alternatives.
If you prefer to keep your diet the same and only wish to reduce symptoms of lactose-intolerance, this may be the easiest option. No change in diet is required. Simply taking an oral lactase supplement, or placing lactase drops in your food prior to eating a lactose-containing food will assist the body in breaking down lactose.
Lactase supplements are widely available in supermarkets and drug stores. Talk to your pharmacist about the best options and dosing for you.
This may be the simplest replacement for milk in a lactose-free diet. Lactose-free milk contains all the same nutrients normally found in milk, but no lactose, as the lactose has already been broken down. Lactose-free milk usually tastes a little bit sweeter than regular milk.
Eat Low-lactose Foods
Not all dairy products contain the same amounts of lactose. In fact, some do not have lactose at all! This table shows the amounts of lactose in common foods. As cheese ages, lactose is converted into lactic acid. So, older stronger cheeses can generally be a part of a lactose-free diet. You may also be able to tolerate small portions of lower lactose foods, such as yogurt or cottage cheese, spread out throughout the day.
Not all plant-based milks are nutritionally equal. Things to consider when purchasing a plant-based milk are protein, calcium, and vitamin D content. Dairy milk offers about 10g of protein per cup; the only plant-based milk that has similar protein content is soy milk. When selecting a plant-based milk, make sure you check the amount of protein in the nutrition facts table and check that it is also fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
Check your dietary calcium intake with this handy calcium calculator tool. If you are worried you are not meeting your calcium needs, try adding in some more calcium rich foods. If you are still concerned you are not eating enough high calcium foods, talk to your doctor or dietitian to discuss options for supplementation.
Q – Where can I find lactose-free foods on campus?
UBC offers an amazing array of foods for different dietary needs. Let your server know you are lactose-intolerant before ordering so they can accommodate you as best as they can.
Q – Are plant-based yogurts a good alternative?
Like plant-based milks, it depends; not all plant-based yogurts are the same. Generally, these yogurts are mainly comprised of plant-based milks or coconut milk/cream, which if not fortified, may not offer much calcium or vitamin D. Compared to traditional yogurt, plant-based yogurts also have much less protein. All in all, plant-based yogurts can certainly be very delicious, but be sure to read the label to check the protein, calcium and vitamin D content as an alternative to dairy yogurt.
Q – Is yogurt lactose-free?
Yogurts contain lactose but are lower in lactose than milk. Greek yogurt has a lower lactose content than regular yogurt. Some individuals may be able to tolerate small amounts of low lactose foods like yogurt.