Have you noticed that every time you eat cheese, ice cream, or other forms of dairy you experience abdominal pain, gas, or bloating? If so, you may have lactose intolerance, or an inability to properly digest dairy products, says Karen Kafer, RDN, a representative with the National Dairy Council.
But being lactose intolerant doesn’t mean you must forgo dairy at every meal. According to Kafer, the body produces an enzyme called lactase to help digest the lactose in milk. As we age, the body sometimes produces less lactase than it did from childhood, making it hard to break down dairy. However, many people with lactose intolerance can still tolerate at least 12 grams of lactose (equivalent to 1 cup of low-fat and fat-free milk or yogurt) in one sitting, with little to no discomfort. So, being diagnosed with the condition simply means that you may need to moderate your intake.
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If you’re like us, you’ve started to think more seriously about your diet than ever. And not just for weight loss purposes, but for the sake of optimum health and pinpointing which foods may be doing more harm than good.
My primary cause for concern is dairy as I was lactose intolerant growing up. Despite seemingly “outgrowing” my intolerance as an adult, I still notice that dairy can make me feel poor from time to time.
Lucky for me the National Dairy Council (NDC) is perking its ears to the cries of people like me and thousands of others who face similar intolerances. The good news is, these diet discrepancies don’t necessarily mean you have to give up dairy. It just means you have to learn which products may work best for you.
To spread the word about National Lactose Intolerance (LI) Month, the NDC held a Twitter party in late February to equip the LI population with helpful tools and resources to better manage their dietary needs. The council sought to inform the public of the important nutrients dairy can provide in our diets, as well as the many dairy products that those with LI can still consume.
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