Eat or drink other foods instead of milk and milk products. You can
substitute soy milk and soy cheese for milk and milk products. You can also use
nondairy creamers in your coffee. But keep in mind that nondairy creamers do
not contain the same vitamins and minerals as milk, and they may contain more
fat than milk contains.
Use lactase products. Lactase products are dietary supplements that help you digest lactose.
There are many different brands of lactase products. Some are pills that you
chew (such as LactAid) before you eat or drink milk products. Others are
liquids that you can add to milk 24 hours before you drink it. Some foods have extra lactase added to them. Because products
and brands are different, you may want to try a few to see which ones work best
Eat yogurt with live cultures (not pasteurized). Some people who are lactose-intolerant can eat yogurt
without having problems, especially yogurt that contains live cultures.
This type of yogurt can help people digest lactose. All
yogurts are made with live cultures, but many yogurts go through a process
called "heat treatment" that kills the bacteria. If you want to be sure you are
buying yogurt that still contains live cultures, check the label for the words
"active yogurt cultures," "living yogurt cultures," or "contains active
If you have severe lactose intolerance, you may need to avoid lactose
completely. Some medicines and many prepared foods contain lactose. Examples of
prepared foods with lactose include breads and baked goods; breakfast cereals
and instant breakfast drinks; instant potatoes and instant soups; pancake,
cookie, and biscuit mixes; margarine and salad dressings; candies, milk
chocolate, and other snacks. Be sure to read labels for lactose and for
lactose's "hidden" names, such as:
- Dry milk
- Nonfat dry milk powder.
One of the biggest concerns for people who are
lactose-intolerant is making sure they get enough of the nutrients found in
milk products, especially
calcium. Calcium is especially important for women,
because it keeps bones strong and reduces the risk of
osteoporosis. There are many
nondairy foods that contain calcium, including:
- Broccoli, okra, kale, collards, and turnip
- Canned sardines, tuna, and salmon.
- Calcium-fortified juices and
- Calcium-fortified soy products such as soy milk, tofu, and
To absorb calcium, your body needs vitamin D. Most people
get enough vitamin D by being out in the sun for short periods of time each
day. Vitamin D is also found in fortified orange juice, fortified soy
milk, oily fish (such as salmon), egg yolks, and liver.
If you don't know whether you are
getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients found in milk
products such as magnesium, potassium, protein, and riboflavin, talk to your
doctor. He or she may recommend that you take a calcium supplement or meet with
registered dietitian to make sure you are getting
enough of certain vitamins and minerals.