There are many people who are unable to enjoy many of the dairy products that are commonly ingested. Milks, cheeses and yogurts tend to cause excruciating pain and horrible gas or diarrhea. This is due to lactose. Lactose is technically a form of sugar that is found within dairy. Many people struggle with digesting it and develop lactose intolerance.
Where in the past, people would suffer in pain or go without their favorite foods, modern advances have helped to create alternatives. Lactose free ice cream products populate the shelves and ensure people with lactose intolerance don’t have to go without that sweet treat. Lactose free milk and cheese are also quite popular. If you’re someone who has been diagnosed with lactose intolerance and want to see what your new food options are, keep reading for more information.
What is Lactose and Who Feels Ill From It?
So, as mentioned earlier, lactose is actually a type of sugar (chemically combined with some other things) that needs to be broken down once it is consumed. This is usually an easy process. The body produces an enzyme that will break down the lactose to allow it to be used as energy in the body.
People who feel sick from lactose ingestion don’t actually have a problem or allergy to lactose. Instead, what they lack is the enzyme that the body creates. Instead of creating it in sufficient properties, they lack enough to neutralize and process the lactose. This is actually what it means to be lactose intolerant.
For the most part, adults are the ones who become lactose intolerant. Children and infants are expected to rely on breast milk for the early parts of their life. Typically, they are capable of doing so, but lose this ability as they grow to adulthood. There are some rare occasions in which it can be a congenital defect though.
How Does a Food Become Lactose Free
In reality, it’s impossible to remove the lactose from a food product. It’s quite simply part of the dairy product. What is instead possible is the introduction of the missing small intestine produced enzyme.
This artificially included enzyme will become active once inside the body in the intestine. The lactose is then broken down into the two forms of sugar that it normally is and digested properly. The process of making a food lactose free really isn’t too complicated and means that people can enjoy their favorite foods without worry. It’s worth noting that some people take pills which allow them to digest dairy that isn’t lactose free. These function on the same idea of simply providing enzymes to the body when it can’t create enough.
Popular Lactose Free Items
So which foods can become lactose free? Typically, almost anything dairy based can have some lactose. Thankfully, there are many versions which are now lactose free. Lactose free ice cream is a popular option, but what else is available? The following products are dairy, or close to dairy products. Normally, they would include large amounts of lactose. Now, you can often find them created without it. They include:
- Lactose free milk - There’s also alternative milks like soy and rice milks.
- Cream - Either created lactose free, or using a non-dairy creamer for coffee.
- Cheese - Make sure it’s lactose free. Also, the longer a cheese is aged, the less lactose it naturally has, while soft cheese is heavy in lactose in the first place.
- Condensed Milk - This is naturally heavy in lactose, but can be created lactose free if necessary.
- Sour Cream - Don’t let your tacos be a problem, get lactose free only.
- Yogurt - Your favorite flavors don’t need to cause stomach problems.
- Hot Chocolate Mix -This is one item that’s often overlooked. The powder will normally contain lactose. Make sure you get one that’s been created “lactose free”.