Lactose intolerance is a condition associated with insufficient enzyme (called lactase) activity in the small bowel to breakdown lactose, a milk sugar. As a result, gut symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence +/- diarrhoea can occur following ingestion of most dairy products.
Lactose intolerance is more prevalent amongst certain ethnicities, particularly Asians (95% prevalence) but can be rare amongst Caucasians.
Being lactose intolerant doesn’t mean you have to follow a dairy-free diet, most people still tolerate a small amount of lactose, e.g. dash of milk in tea or coffee, fermented yoghurts and matured cheese. It is important you consult one of our dietitians before excluding all sources of dairy. Dairy products are an important source of calcium, protein, vitamin B12 & riboflavin and inclusion of a variety of dairy products are an important preventative strategy for osteoporosis (brittle bones).
If you have persistent gut symptoms, like irritable bowel syndrome, you may also want to consider the role of other FODMAPs. Please consult one of our dietitians before implementing this diet to ensure your nutritional adequacy is not compromised.