If You’re Lactose Intolerant – Read This

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October 5, 2015

got-lactose-intolerance

Milk and other dairy products are a major source of nutrients in the American diet. One of the most important of these nutrients is calcium. Calcium is essential for the growth and repair of bones throughout life. In the middle and later years, a shortage of calcium may lead to thin, fragile bones that break easily, a condition called osteoporosis.

Dark skin people need more vitamin D from their diet, because their skin absorb vitamin D less efficiently from the sun’s UV rays.

Federal Dietary Guidelines recommend two to three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese daily in order to ingest the necessary amount of calcium. Yet it is said that between 30 and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant and certain ethnic and racial populations are more affected than others. Up to 80 percent of African Americans, 80 to 100 percent of American Indians, and 90 to 100 percent of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant.

WHAT IS LACTOSE INTOLERANCE?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, the major sugar found in milk. Lactose intolerance is caused by a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the cells that line the small intestine. Lactase breaks down milk sugar into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galactose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE LACTOSE INTOLERANT?

If you drink a glass of milk, or eat a bowl of ice cream do you get a rumbling in your stomach, gas, bloating, cramps or diarrhea? Does it happen to anyone in your family? Do you suffer from migraines, or asthma? Do you have bad breath in spite of keeping your teeth clean? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you probably are lactose intolerant.

All children are born with the enzyme lactase, which allows them to digest milk, but by the age of ten many children of non-European descent no longer produce the enzyme.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 states that, “If a person wants to consider milk alternatives because of lactose intolerance, the most reliable and easiest ways to derive the health benefits associated with milk and milk product consumption is to choose alternatives within the milk food group, such as yogurt or lactose-free milk, or to consume the enzyme lactase prior to the consumption of milk products. For individuals who choose to or must avoid all milk products (e.g., individuals with lactose intolerance, vegans), non-dairy calcium-containing alternatives may be selected to help meet calcium needs”.

MILK SUBSTITUTES:

1 cup milk equivalent is:

  • 1 cup low-fat/fat-free milk, yogurt
  • 1½ oz of low-fat, fat-free, or reduced fat natural cheese
  • 2 oz of low-fat or fat-free processed cheese

Non-Dairy Food Sources of Calcium

Non-Dairy Food Sources of Calcium ranked by milligrams of calcium per standard amount;
also calories in the standard amount. The bioavailability may vary.
(The AI for adults is 1,000 mg/day).

Food, Standard Amount

Calcium (mg)

Calories

Fortified ready-to-eat cereals (various), 1 oz

236-1043

88-106

Soy beverage, calcium fortified, 1 cup

368

98

Sardines, Atlantic, in oil, drained, 3 oz

325

177

Tofu, firm, prepared with nigarib , ½ cup

253

88

Pink salmon, canned, with bone, 3 oz

181

118

Collards, cooked from frozen, ½ cup

178

31

Molasses, blackstrap, 1 Tbsp

172

47

Spinach, cooked from frozen, ½ cup

146

30

Soybeans, green, cooked, ½ cup

130

127

Turnip greens, cooked from frozen, ½ cup

124

Ocean perch, Atlantic, cooked, 3 oz

116

103

Oatmeal, plain and flavored, instant, fortified, 1 packet prepared

99-110

97-157

Cowpeas, cooked, ½ cup

106

80

White beans, canned, ½ cup

96

153

Kale, cooked from frozen, ½ cup

90

20

Okra, cooked from frozen, ½ cup

88

26

Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup

88

149

Blue crab, canned, 3 oz

86

84

Beet greens, cooked from fresh, ½ cup

82

19

Pak-choi, Chinese cabbage, cooked from fresh, ½ cup

79

10

Clams, canned, 3 oz

78

126

Dandelion greens, cooked from fresh, ½ cup

74

17

Rainbow trout, farmed, cooked, 3 oz

73

144

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