Although most people know that milk and dairy products usually contain lactose, there are many other hidden sources of this sugar in food. In fact, many baked goods, candy, baking mixes also contain lactose. This article discusses in detail the list of permitted and prohibited foods on a lactose-free diet.
Who should follow a lactose-free diet
Lactose is a simple sugar found in milk and dairy products. It is usually broken down by lactase, an enzyme in the small intestine. However, many people cannot produce lactase, which makes it impossible to digest the lactose contained in milk.
In fact, it is estimated that about 65% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, meaning that they are unable to digest lactose.
Fortunately, following a lactose-free diet can minimize symptoms in people with this problem.
What foods to eat
As part of a lactose-free diet, you can eat many foods, including:
Fruits: apples, oranges, berries, peaches, plums, grapes, pineapples, mangoes
Vegetables: onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, arugula, greens, zucchini, carrots
Meat: beef, lamb, pork, veal
Poultry: chicken, turkey, goose, duck
Seafood: tuna, mackerel, salmon, anchovies crab, sardines, shellfish
Eggs: egg yolks and egg whites
Soy products: tofu, tempeh, natto, miso Legumes: beans, beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas
Whole grains: barley, buckwheat, quinoa, couscous, wheat, spelt, oats
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts
Seeds: chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Alternative types of milk: lactose-free milk, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk
Lactose-free yogurts: coconut yogurt, almond yogurt, soy yogurt, cashew yogurt
Healthy fats: avocado, olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil
Herbs and spices: turmeric, oregano, rosemary, basil, dill, mint
Drinks: water, tea, coffee, coconut water, juice
Keep in mind, that lactose-free milk products should be avoided by those who are allergic to dairy products, as they may contain milk proteins such as casein or whey.
Some dairy products contain small amounts of lactose and can be well tolerated by many people with lactose intolerance. Meanwhile, some types of yogurt contain beneficial bacteria that can help in the digestion of lactose. Other dairy products that often contain small amounts of lactose include: kefir, skir, aged or hard cheeses, and cream.
Checking the label for added dairy products can help determine whether the product contains lactose.