Lactose intolerance is a painful condition currently estimated to affect up to 15% of the population. There are many sufferers who may not be aware that they have this condition. For anyone unaware of the nature of their problem, the will not know about the need to adhere to a special diet in order to relieve their discomfort. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which the body needs in order to digest and absorb lactose, with is a sugar found in milk.
Lactase is needed in order to break lactose down into simple sugars such as glucose and galactose. Galactose is also metabolised and broken down further into glucose by the liver, and then the glucose makes its way into the bloodstream. This is the body's source of fuel, but before lactose can become fuel for the body it needs to be broken down in this manner.
If the body is deficient in lactase and can not break lactose down into glucose, the sufferer may begin to feel some very uncomfortable symptoms such as stomach cramps, flatulence, bloating, nausea, and diarrhoea. These symptoms have a tendency to begin around half an hour to two hours after the lactose intolerant individual has consumed a meal containing lactose. Symptoms and severity vary from person to person, as each lactose intolerant individual will vary in their level of tolerance.
A special diet may be required that will minimise or remove lactose from the diet. Often, a special diet to minimise a person's exposure to lactose will simply involve measures like drinking smaller amounts of milk at more frequent intervals. Hard cheeses are also often easier to digest for those people who are lactose intolerant, so they are also a great choice. Eating dairy products with other food can also help people who are lactose intolerant in their quest for a special diet to minimise the repercussions of eating dairy products.
A special diet to avoid lactose in dairy products may also benefit from special milk that has been processed in order to be free from the sugar that causes the problems. These milk products have been created specifically for individuals who have this intolerance, so that they can enjoy the goodness of milk without the danger of the discomfort that would otherwise come afterwards. If you are interested in trying lactose free milk, check with your supermarket to see if they carry any brands of this milk and perhaps you will find yourself incorporating it into your diet.
Individuals who are lactose intolerant can still partake in a healthy diet involving milk products if they are careful enough and make the right choices. It is important to know how your body reacts to lactose and to make allowances in your diet to compensate for your lactose intolerance. If you do so properly, you can still enjoy all the benefits and tastiness of milk products while avoiding the uncomfortable after effects.
The main thing is to maintain an awareness of your intolerance and an understanding of the foods that will give you the undesirable symptoms. Once you have worked out simple ways to avoid the problem foods you should be able to feel much better.
Find out more about different types of special diet on K Garrow's Diet UK website, which offers free advice on a range of weight loss related issues, including how to find an easy diet, choosing healthy food options, finding slimming recipes and the use of slimming aids and exercise regimes to help you lose weight.