If you think you have
lactose intolerance, it is a good idea to talk it over
with your doctor. Your doctor can make sure that your symptoms are caused by
lactose intolerance and not by another problem such as
irritable bowel syndrome,
inflammatory bowel disease, overuse of laxatives, or
problems digesting foods that contain
fructose or sorbitol. Your doctor can also make sure
that your lactose intolerance is not related to another health problem.
After being diagnosed with lactose intolerance, you may feel relieved to
find out what has been causing your symptoms. You may also feel frustrated by
having to deal with this condition for the rest of your life. You may find it
reassuring to know that there are many people who have lactose intolerance and most
can avoid discomfort and still eat or drink some milk products throughout the
There are different ways to live with lactose intolerance.
What works for one person may not work for another. Because there is no cure
for lactose intolerance, controlling your symptoms is mostly up to you. The
following tips can help you prevent symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Limit the amount of milk and milk products in your diet. Most people can have about 10 g of lactose each day.
This can be a glass of whole, low-fat, or fat-free milk, for
example. All milk contains the same amount of lactose. Other milk
products contain different amounts of lactose:
Approximate lactose and calcium in some foods1
| Food ||Serving size|| Lactose (g)|| Calcium (mg)|
8 fl oz (240 mL)
1 oz (30 g)
Cottage cheese, 2% milk fat
4 oz (113 g)
1 oz (30 g)
Foods with less lactose, such as Swiss or cheddar cheese,
may not cause problems. If you are not sure whether a milk product causes
symptoms, try a small amount and wait to see how you feel before you eat or
Eat or drink milk and milk products along with other foods. For some people, combining a solid food (like
cereal) with a dairy product (like milk) may reduce or eliminate
Spread milk or milk products throughout the day. Many people who are lactose-intolerant find it helpful to eat
small amounts of lactose-containing products throughout the day instead of
larger amounts all at one time.
Eat or drink milk and milk products that have reduced lactose. In most grocery stores, you
can buy milk with reduced lactose. Some people like buying this kind of milk
and find that it helps control their symptoms. Others find that it tastes too
sweet or is too expensive. People who have
diabetes may find that lactose-reduced milk raises
their blood sugar levels higher than normal.