Can I still eat Dairy Products?

My wife and I both take calcium supplements, in my case two tablets of calcium citrate with vitamin D in the morning and two sometime later in the day. (Lynnette takes two and then three).  Each has 630 milligrams of calcium and 500 IU of vitamin D.  I haven't had a bone density test; hers was slightly on the low side originally and has improved more recently. We're both small-boned and in our late sixties, so the supplements make sense.

How about dairy products? Well Lynnette has no problem with drinking milk and usually has a small glass of it daily + pours some on her cereal.  I'm lactose-intolerant, i.e, lactase deficient, so I use soy milk on my cereal and often eat a bowl of cereal at two of my three meals, especially if I'm on my diet. Today, I weighed 148.4 pounds, so I'm at or even slightly below my goal weight, and can eat a bigger lunch if I want to (we're invited out for a bison dinner, so I may not).

There was an interesting article on lactose-intolerance in The Wall Street Journal recently (Health & Wellness Thursday, February 16, 2010, page D3. Dr. Eric Sibley, a Professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, is quoted as saying while most people lose the ability to produce lactase in large quantities as they grow up, a majority still secrete some lactase.

For those who still can produce lactase, stopping diary ingestion entirely is counter- productive. Our gut bacteria can be trained, apparently, to tolerate more dairy if exposed to it on a regular basis. On the other hand, if you stop consuming all dairy products when you first diagnose yourself as lactose-intolerant, your bowel bacteria get less efficient in their lactose handling.

Some dairy products, cheese and ice cream among them, have been processed and, as a result, tend to contain less lactose. Other foods have lactose added to them (some cookies in particular).

Dr. Sibley said most of us who are lactose-intolerant can drink one or two glasses of milk a day without symptoms. We all need calcium, so it makes sense to have some cheese and milk regularly and perhaps even a little ice cream as a special treat occasionally.

A few people have a true allergy to milk that's not caused by lactose; instead of gas and bloating, they develop abdominal pain and may have bloody stools after drinking milk. Those folk can't safely follow Dr. Sibley's advice for the rest of us. As for me, I may attempt to retrain my gut bacteria to do their best with lactose-containing products; I'll go have a small glass of milk right now.

8 Responses to “Can I still eat Dairy Products?”

  1. Reece Khan says:

    i also have lactose intolerance that is why i always avoid dairy products..,;

  2. Peter Springberg says:

    I've gotten very used to and enjoy soy milk. I have several friends who have more severe forms of milk intolerance, presumably reacting not to lactose, but to other milk constituents. One of them can consume coconut milk without any problems ensuing. I haven't tried this alternative myself.

  3. my sister was born with lactose intolerance and she can't even take more than a glass of milk..;

  4. Peter Springberg says:

    Suggest Vanilla soy milk to her; I usually drink two glasses of it a day as well as using it on my cereal. Natural soy milk contains little digestible calcium as it is bound to the bean's pulp, which is insoluble in humans. To counter this, many manufacturers enrich their products with calcium carbonate available to human digestion. The brand I buy has 30% of the daily calcium requirement per cup, i.e., 300 mg. If she buys soy milk, she should make sure it has calcium added. Unlike cow's milk, it has little saturated fat and no cholesterol, so that's a benefit for those of us who drink little or no cow milk.

  5. Laundry Bag says:

    i was born with lactose intolerance and i can't eat cheese without having an upset stomach "".

  6. Peter Springberg says:

    You might try soy milk; I drink some of that daily and put it on cereal.

  7. .~, I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information -;"

  8. Abram Wurts says:

    I have a bit of lactose intolerance and consuming too much milk really gives me an upset stomach. ::".*

    Warmest wishes

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