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What does it mean to be lactose intolerant?

Lactose intolerance is a common, but inconvenient, condition from which many around the world suffer. Approximately more than half of the global population, to be exact. While lactose intolerance affects all races, it is most commonly found amongst Asian-Americans, African-Americans, and Native Americans. And with the holidays in full swing with cheese plates galore, dairy is a difficult thing to avoid this time of year.

Lactose is a natural type of sugar which is found in milk and dairy products. When an individual is lacking an enzyme known as lactase, which breaks down lactose in the human body, lactose cannot be broken down properly, thus causing lactose intolerance.

Those who are affected by lactose intolerance may experience the following symptoms:

* Nausea
* Cramping
* Bloating
* Diarrhea
* Excessive gas

If an individual experiences any of the above symptoms within the first 15-30 minutes of consuming milk or any other dairy product, they may be lactose intolerant. It is important to note that there are varying degrees of lactose intolerance; meaning some people may have more adverse reactions to dairy products than others. Some individuals do not even realize that they are lactose intolerant until they are much older!

Here are some tips to follow if you have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance:

* Cut down your lactose intake: because dairy products contain beneficial nutrients, it is important that you do not cut out lactose products completely. You may be able to tolerate smaller portions of dairy-based food items, depending upon your level of lactose intolerance.
* Read food labels closely: not only dairy products contain lactose. Some processed foods such as salad dressings, soups, cereals, cookies, and breads contain lactose as well.
* Swap out for plant-based alternatives where you can: if you are severely lactose intolerant, try changing out some dairy products such as milk, for other nutrient-rich plant-based products such as almond milk or oat milk.

Before beginning any new diet regimen, it is important you consult with your physician or specialist. If you would like to learn more about Theramotion’s work with patients please contact us at 718-279-9800. Additionally, you can fill out contact information on our Contact Us page and we will get back to you.