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Managing Lactose Intolerance

Many people who do not suffer from lactose intolerance, or who are new to the condition, often think that the easiest way to avoid the discomfort is by simply giving up any milk products, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be your reality. In most cases, lactose intolerant individuals can tolerate some milk products better than others, and many can even handle small amounts of any milk-based foods (in moderation, of course). Certain foods are unquestionably worse than others, as they contain higher concentrations of lactose and therefore it takes a smaller amount to cause complications. These foods should be limited or avoided entirely when possible to ensure that your lactose intolerance does not cause unnecessary digestive discomfort.

  • Fresh cheeses have a higher concentration of lactose as compared to “aged” cheeses. The processes used when cooking and aging cheese effectively remove much of the lactose, and after only a few months of aging the lactose content of most cheeses is nearly eliminated. This is especially true for harder cheeses such as cheddar and Swiss.
  • Skim milk contains higher concentrations of lactose, due to the lactose being found in the “watery” portion of the milk far more than the “fatty” portion. In order to avoid the potential troubles to be found by milk consumption, you should try and aim for fuller-fat milk, or milk alternatives, rather than consuming lower-fat and fat-free milk.

Ice cream, while having a lower lactose concentration than regular milk, still contains enough to cause discomfort for those with sensitive stomachs. The simplest choice for controlling your lactose from ice cream and similar products would be to remove it completely from your diet, although substituting for lower-lactose or lactose-free options can be done if you must have your ice cream fix. You can even make your own ice cream at home using coconut milk, almond milk, or lactose-reduced milk.