Friday, August 18, 2017

Living with lactose intolerance

Millions of people worldwide are lactose intolerant, meaning that
they can’t break down and use lactose, the main sugar found in
milk and other dairy products. These people are deficient in the
enzyme that breaks down lactose known as lactase. The symptoms
include bloating, lower abdominal pains, and loose stools after
drinking milk. As time goes by, people who are lactose intolerant
often drink less milk to avoid the symptoms.

Lactose intolerance affects all races to some degree, although
African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Native
Americans are affected more frequently than Caucasians. For
example, some studies in the United States quote a 70 percent
incidence in African Americans and a 15 percent incidence in
Caucasians.

76 Part II: Keeping Your Bones Healthy
Lactose intolerant people are twice as likely to suffer from osteoporosis
than people who aren’t lactose intolerant. They have a
higher rate of osteoporosis because they typically take in less calcium,
or because they don’t absorb calcium well.

You can take some easy steps to maintain your calcium intake if
you’re lactose intolerant by:

Drinking lactose-free milk, such as Lactaid. In lactose-free
milk, the lactose has been chemically removed.

Drinking soymilk. We thank comedian Lewis Black for pointing
out that soymilk is more appropriately referred to as “soy
juice” because it doesn’t come from a cow! Have you ever
seen a soy cow before? Neither have we!

Trying Ultra Lactaid tablets. Take one just before consuming
any product with lactose. These tablets often aren’t effective
in people with severe deficiencies of the enzyme.

Checking our charts in this chapter for calcium contents of
foods that don’t contain lactose. We provide plenty of alternatives,
for example, oranges, almonds, and salmon. (A yummy
spinach salad topped with orange slices, sliced almonds, and
chunks of grilled salmon sounds good right now!)

Looking for calcium-fortified drinks, such as orange juice.
Make sure you know what you’re getting by reading the label.

Eating yogurt with active cultures. Yogurts with live active
cultures contain bacteria that help digests lactose. (One cup
of yogurt contains 5 grams of lactose.)

Chopping up some cheese. Hard cheeses, such as cheddar
and Swiss, have much of their lactose broken down during the
production process. (Swiss cheese still has a gram of lactose.)


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