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Lactose intolerance

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is also called milk sugar lactose intolerance (and sometimes milk allergy - but it is misleading, since there is no allergy). Milk sugar (lactose) is a type of sugar found in milk and, consequently, in dairy products, and foods containing milk powder.

The condition is caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase in the small intestine. Normally lactase breaks down milk sugar (lactose) into smaller parts so it can be absorbed into the body, and if the enzyme lacks, milk sugar is not absorbed, but remains in the intestine, where it ferments and cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and bloating.

Who gets lactose intolerance?

All children have a very good ability to digest and absorb milk sugar, but during adolescence this abilty is reduced or lost in many individuals. Most of the adult populaton in northern Europe and North America's adult population have retained the ability to digest milk sugar, but the majority of the world's adult population has lactose-intolerance

People with large bowel surgeries, stomach surgery or small bowel disease (celiac disease) often have lactose intolerance. Many have a short period of lactose intolerance in the days following intestinal infections due damage to the mucosa of the small intestine.

What are the symptoms?

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain

How is it diagnosed?

Since the vast majority of cases of laktoseintoelrans is a genetic condition, a blood test can reveal whether you have the genes for lactose intolrance.

How is lactose intolerance treated?

Avoid foods containing lactose, i.e. milk, yogurt, curds, curdled milk and so on - especially if you have diarrhea.

REMEMBER! Many foods have been added powdered milk! Read product labels!
REMEMBER! Milk and milk products are important source of calcium. It is important to get calcium supplements otherwise (possibly as a dietary supplement in the form of calcium tablets).
You can also seek advice from a qualified dietician.

As lactose intolerance is a harmless condition, it is not dangerous not to comply with the diet. You just need to be aware that you get symptoms when the diet is broken.

Where is lactose found?

  • Milk, butter, margarine, sour milk products and so on
  • milk powder
  • pastries (read the declaration, ask the baker)
  • many types of prefabricated foods (see declarations!)
  • chocolate
  • Many types of tablets

N.B.Firm cheeses typically contain less than 0.05 g laktose/100 g Therefore, most people with lactose intolerance eat cheese without problems.