Can You Eat Cheese If Lactose Intolerant

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Theres Nothing Quite Like It So What Should I Do

Cheeses You Can Still Eat If Youre Lactose Intolerant

If you have lactose intolerance, try drinking lactose-free milk such as Lactaid or Lacteeze. These types of milk contain an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk, making it easier for you to digest. Lactose-free milk provides essentially the same quantities of vitamins and minerals as regular milk.

I also offer these suggestions to help my clients deal with lactose intolerance if they want to include dairy in their diet:

  • Eat cheese! Hard cheeses like cheddar and Parmesan are very low in lactose, and tend to be well-tolerated by people with lactose intolerance. Cottage cheese is a good choice too.
  • Drink small amounts of milk throughout the day, instead of drinking a cupful at one sitting. Add some milk to tea or coffee, or when cooking or baking.
  • Include milk as part of meals and snacks, instead of drinking it on its own on an empty stomach.
  • Enjoy fermented dairy foods such as yogurt or kefir , which naturally contain live bacteria that help break down lactose. Try including small amounts in a smoothie or mix it into your oatmeal to start. Youll figure out what your threshold is in time.
  • Limit your intake of foods that cause you discomfort. You may be able to tolerate certain lactose-containing foods while other people with lactose intolerance can enjoy different foods. Everyone is different.
  • Lactase enzyme also comes in pill form, and can be taken before eating a meal that contains milk products, such as pizza or macaroni & cheese.

Probiotics For Lactose Intolerance

For some people, probiotics can ease symptoms of lactose intolerance. Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, that restore the balance of “good” bacteria in your digestive system. They can be found in foods like yogurt or kefir — probiotic-rich milk — as well as dietary supplements. Check with your doctor to see if probiotics might help you.

Why Lactose Intolerant People Dgaf About Avoiding Cheese

Mashable bites into a creamy, nutty, gooey, and sometimes stinky world during our first-ever Cheese Week.

I adore cheese, despite knowing the havoc it wreaks on my body.

Like 65 percent of the human population, I’ve been cursed with lactose intolerance. And like an undetermined, but probably equally high percentage of the human population, I’ve also been cursed with an inability to turn down dairy products. While the concept of drinking a glass of straight milk still horrifies me, cheese is something I can’t seem to cut out of my life.

If I’m free for the four to six hours after a meal, I’ll gladly indulge in cheesy dishes I have no business consuming: tangy lemon ricotta pancakes, pizza topped with basil and fresh mozzarella, decadent mac and cheese baked with a breadcrumb and cheese crust. But my greatest vice is eating cheese on its own. Even though I know it’ll kick off a sequence of events that inevitably end in Pompeii-levels of destruction, I’ll gladly hit up the cheese section at my local grocery store and stock up on blocks of creamy, salty heaven.

The blatant disregard that lactose intolerant people like myself have for their own dietary restrictions is so common, it’s basically a personality trait. Being lactose intolerant and not caring isn’t just a form of bonding, it’s a meme. There’s a primal sense of glee that comes with doing something self-destructive, but low-stakes, and finding others who do the same.

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Know Your Lactose Limit

If you’re lactose intolerant, you can still eat foods with lactose — in moderation. The key is to know your limit. Keep a food diary, write down when, what, and how much you ate, and how it made you feel. You should see a pattern emerge and you will learn how much or how little lactose you can have. Then, stick to your limit.

Lactose Intolerant Dont Worryyou Can Still Enjoy Dairy

Snappy infographic on lactose intolerance

Did you know, lactose intolerance doesnt have to mean dairy avoidance? Learn more, here.

If you have a lactose intolerance , it doesnt have to mean the end of cheesy pizza and yogurt smoothies . Theres lots of misinformation out there, but I want you to breathe easy knowing that you can still safely eat dairy-based foods even if you have lactose intolerance.

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The Cause Of Intolerance

When you eat any food, your intestines have to break down more complex proteins and sugars into simpler forms so that your body can absorb them. Enzymes break down these substances. The inability to produce enough lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose, results in lactose intolerance. The body uses lactase to digest lactose into more easily digested simple sugars, glucose and galactose. When someone with lactose intolerance eats dairy products, the undigested lactose passes into the large intestine, or colon, causing common symptoms.

Smaller Portions Fewer Symptoms

Maybe you can’t enjoy a big glass of milk with cookies, but you can try a smaller serving. Start with a 4-ounce glass instead of a full 8 ounces. Gradually increase the amount of dairy you eat until you begin to notice unpleasant symptoms. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you’ve reached your limit. If you want to avoid lactose completely, try lactose-free dairy milk or non-dairy drinks, such as soy milk.

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Dairy Foods That Are Naturally Low In Lactose

People with lactose intolerance often avoid eating dairy products.

This is usually because they are concerned that dairy may cause unwanted and potentially embarrassing side effects.

However, dairy foods are very nutritious, and not all of them are high in lactose.

This article explores 6 dairy foods that are low in lactose.

Does This Mean Lactose

The best cheeses to eat if you’re lactose intolerant

Not quite. The fresher the cheese, the more lactose. That’s bad. For the most part, though, aged, harder cheeses will have varying portions of their lactose turned into less harmful lactic acid by the time it reaches the charcuterie platter. That’s good. In addition, during the aging process, some lactose is separated and drained off with the whey, which brings the lactose percentage down with it. Also good.

Generally, if you are sensitive, you never want a cheese with a sugar content approaching 5 grams per serving, at the very least. There are myriad cheeses out there that fit the bill, and come in way under 5 grams of sugar per serving. Some of these cheeses have barely measurable amounts.

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Lactose Intolerance And You

If you have lactose intolerance, it means that your body has trouble breaking down lactose, the natural sugar in milk. You may be able to tolerate some dairy products, but you will also want to stick to a safe lactose intolerance diet. “Avoidance is the best treatment for lactose intolerance, but you need to be sure to get enough calcium in your diet,” says Amy E. Barto, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. “You can do this by supplementing your diet with the right food choices.” Find out about the smart and delicious food swaps you can make that will help you avoid lactose intolerance symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Substitute Sherbet For Ice Cream

If you crave ice cream for dessert, you might be able to substitute sherbet in your lactose intolerance diet. Sherbet does contain some dairy, but its a low-lactose food one cup has about 4 to 6 grams of lactose, about the same amount as a cup of yogurt and half as much as a cup of ice cream. Sherbet is a good example of a hidden source of lactose because you probably don’t think of it as a dairy product. “Other hidden sources of lactose include soups, salad dressings, and processed breakfast foods,” says Barto. Be sure not to include too many of these foods in your diet on a given day, since doing so may bring on lactose intolerance symptoms. If youre looking for a frozen dessert without any lactose, choose ices or sorbet, which are dairy-free foods.

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What You Need To Know

  • Lactose intolerance is a condition in which an individual is unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products.
  • This condition often runs in families and can be developed by both children and adults.
  • Lactose intolerance is most common in Asian Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans and Native Americans.
  • Symptoms vary from person to person, but may include: gas, diarrhea, bloating, belly pains and/or nausea.
  • There is no treatment for lactose intolerance, but symptoms can be managed through diet changes.

What Will The Doctor Do

The Differences Between Lactose

If you and your parent think you might have lactose intolerance, the next step is to see your doctor. After hearing about your symptoms and doing an exam, your doctor may ask you to stop eating dairy for a period of time. If your symptoms improve on a dairy-free diet, but happen again when you try dairy again, there’s a good chance you are lactose intolerant.

The doctor also can test your breath to see if you show signs of lactose intolerance. Thery’ll check your breath for hydrogen a gas you cannot see or taste. When lactose isn’t digested, the bacteria that normally live in the large intestine use it and make hydrogen gas.

To test the amount of hydrogen, the doctor will have you drink something with lactose in it. You’ll blow into a mask or bag to check the hydrogen level in your breath about every 15 minutes during the test. If it’s high, you might have lactose intolerance.

If you do have lactose intolerance, your doctor will talk to you about the best ways to treat it and help you feel your best. You will play a big part in how you feel because it’s up to you to watch what you eat. You might want to keep a list of foods that make you feel sick, so you can steer clear of them in the future. Talking with a dietitian someone who specializes in food and nutrition could help you decide what to eat and what not to eat.

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Your Heart Health Suffers

Eating too much cheese can set you up for a greater risk of heart disease, says Rueven, since the high sodium levels raise your blood pressure and the saturated fat elevates your bad cholesterol.

Need a quick refresher on saturated fat? According to Shapiro, it’s the type of fat that remains solid at room temperature and therefore, can clog your arteries.

“Saturated fat increases our bad cholesterol levels and, when consumed too often, can become unhealthy,” she says.

The good news, though? You don’t have to cut out cheese completely to avoid these side effects, emphasizes Rueven: “Eating cheese in moderation is not going to drastically elevate cholesterol and blood pressure, so enjoy it on occasion or use it in small amounts to garnish a salad or soup.” You can also try 10 Low-Fat Cheeses You Can Eat When You’re Losing Weight.

So here’s where some common misconceptions about cheese really work against us.

“Because people tend to think of cheese as a ‘low-carb’ food or one high in protein, they add it to many menu items like salads, sandwiches, and omelets, and enjoy it for snacks,” says Shapiro.

The problem? One ounce of cheese contains about 100 calories and eight grams of fat, she adds, so it’s not the “healthy” food many people see it asinstead, it pretty quickly increases your overall fat and calorie intake.

Over time, your cheese habits can lead to weight gain.

Lactose Intolerant Why You Can Still Eat Cheese

Lactose-free cheeseits not a Frankenstein-food dreamed up in a lab somewhere, but real, delicious cheese thats naturally lactose free or low enough in lactose to not bother people with lactose intolerance.

How can that be true? Sure, cheese starts with lactose-containing milk. But, depending on the type of cheese, two things may happen during cheesemaking to eliminate it.

First, milk is intentionally curdled by an enzyme, such as rennet. The milk forms curds and whey. Cheesemakers strain out the curds and discard the whey which contains most of the lactose. A small amount of lactose is left in the curd, which becomes the cheese that you purchase.

Second, when cheese ripens or ages, cheesemakers add bacteria to the curds to create flavor and texture. The bacteria also eat the lactose and convert it into easily digested lactic acid . Generally, the longer a cheese is aged, the less lactose in it because the bacteria have more time to consume it.

Fresh cheeses, such as ricotta, goat, mascarpone, cream, cottage and feta, do not undergo aging, so they still contain lactose. However, well-aged cheeses, such as Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, cheddar, Manchego, Asiago, Swiss, Havarti or Gruyére, contain little or no lactose. A rule of thumb is the harder the cheese, the lower the lactose. And an exception that proves the rule is Brie. It is very low in lactose because it is aged. Watch our video to see how Brie is made!

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Side Effects Of Eating Too Much Cheese According To Experts

We get it: cheese is one of your favorite foods. We don’t even blame youit’s delicious any way you slice it , whether it’s melted, shredded, or just cubed onto a charcuterie board full of salami and bread.

But, like so many other things that taste good, cheese has to be consumed in moderation. Yes, it’s hard to stop eating it once you get started, but not stopping means you’re consuming a lot of fat, calories, and sodium. That’s not only less-than-healthy for you in the short-term , but can be unhealthy for you in the long-term, too .

What’s more, an awful lot of people can’t even process dairy foods like cheese all that well. If you’re even a little lacking in the enzyme needed to properly digest lactose, loading up your meals with creamy, tangy, gooey cheese is going to leave you with a very unhappy belly.

We asked three dietitians to tell us what happens when you eat too much cheese, for the lactose tolerant and intolerant alike. Here’s what they said. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

So How Bad Is It To Eat Dairy If Youre Lactose Intolerant

Lactose Intolerance Solution Medical Course

Lactose intolerance isnt dangerous, Dr. Inra notes, and if you splurge on the cheesy nachos, there will likely be no long-term consequences.

But, thats not the case 100 percent of the time: There are some individuals who actually do have permanent damage done to the microvilli of their intestine when they drink or consume foods with lactose in it, says Hunnes.

And thats a problem, since the microvilli absorb nutrients into your bloodstream. So if they are damaged, you wont be able to absorb and utilize your nutrients properly. The result? Malnutrition, says Hunnes, which can leave you lacking the nutrients you need.

But dont freak outits a very rare condition, affecting less than one percent of the population, she says.

Most of us, instead, pay for eating dairy with the nastyalbeit temporarysymptoms listed above. In most cases, youll start to feel better once everything is through your system, about 12 to 24 hours later, says Hunnes.

Still, even if youre lactose intolerant, you dont have to swear off cheese. You just need a better game plan, and that can include some OTC meds that can help you digest dairy.

Lactaid pills and other similar products such as Dairy-Ease contain the enzyme lactase, and help some people tolerate dairy, says Dr. Inra.

Just make sure to take the pills before eating dairy. If they are taken later, they may not work as well.

Younger, fresher cheeses, such as American, feta, and mozzarella have higher lactose content, she says.

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And These Are The Cheeses That Are Generally Higher In Lactose

In general, fresh, wet cheeses like ricotta and cream cheese have higher levels of lactose, Strange says. These same cheeses also tend to contain higher amounts of whey, Joey Wells, senior principal product development and innovation expert for global specialty at Whole Foods Market, tells SELF. Even though they technically have more lactose than their aged counterparts, they still don’t have very much. For example, cottage cheese contains about 3 grams of lactose per serving while cream cheese contains only 1 gramnot that much more than what’s in those harder, aged cheeses. But again, we’re talking suggested serving sizes here, which isn’t always how people realistically consume cheese. Just saying.

Strange explains that the process for making fresh cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella is much faster than their aged counterparts, which means they retain more whey and have less time to convert lactose into lactic acid. They’re also usually wetter than their low-lactose counterparts because the whey hasn’t had long enough to fully drain off.

Lactose Intolerance In Children

If your child is lactose intolerant, they may be able to consume small amounts of lactose without experiencing symptoms.

This is quite safe, but you may need to experiment to find out how much they can comfortably eat or drink.

If your child is unable to tolerate any lactose, your doctor may refer you to a dietitian for nutritional advice.

This is because it’s important for young children to have certain nutrients in their diet to ensure healthy growth and development.

In general, the same rules about foods to try or avoid are similar for children and adults.

For babies with lactose intolerance, lactose-free formula milk is available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets.

But soya formula is not recommended for children under 6 months because it contains hormones that may interfere with your baby’s future physical and sexual development.

Breastfed babies may benefit from lactase substitute drops to help their bodies digest the lactose in breast milk.

For many children, lactose intolerance is only temporary and will improve after a few weeks.

After this point, it’s safe to gradually reintroduce milk and dairy products into their diet.

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