Lactose Free Diet

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A lactose free diet means eating food that does not contain lactose. Lactose is a sugar that is a normal part of milk products. Some people may not have enough lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in the body. Or, their body may make lactase that does not work properly. This may cause gas, bloating, cramping or diarrhea when they eat or drink milk products. Following a lactose free diet may prevent these problems.

Avoid all foods on the lactose containing lists. Ask your doctor about lactase medications. This medication may break down enough of the lactose for you to digest some foods with small amount of lactose. If you decide to take lactase tablets, start with only small servings of dairy foods. Increase your servings if you digest them well.

Read labels on foods to see if they contain lactose. Even foods like margarines, shortenings, non-dairy creamers, baked goods and salad dressings can contain lactose.

Dairy foods which contain lactose

  • Some cheeses-generally aged cheese contains less lactose, soft and processed cheeses contain higher levels of lactose.
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Buttermilk
  • Margarines with butter or milk
  • Cheese spreads and cheese foods
  • Party dips
  • Cottage and ricotta cheese
  • Chowders
  • Cream
  • Cream soups
  • Evaporated & condensed milk
  • Soup mixes with milk products
  • Hot chocolate mixes
  • Whipped cream
  • Ice cream
  • White sauces and gravies
  • Malted milk
  • Cookies, cakes, pies, pastries and desserts with milk
  • Processed and natural cheeses
  • Reduced lactose milk
  • Cream and cheese filled pastries
  • Sherbet
  • Fudge, coated candies and
  • Sour cream
  • chocolates
  • Sweet acidophilus or lactobacillus milk
  • Pudding, custard
  • Whey
  • Toffee, butterscotch and caramels
  • Yogurt with or without live cultures
  • Milk powder
  • Dry cereal with milk
  • Milk protein
  • Frozen potato foods with milk or lactose
  • Milk solids
  • Instant mashed potato mixes
  • Non-fat dry milk
  • Prepared breads, muffins, biscuits or rolls made with milk
  • Whey solids or protein
  • Pancakes or waffles made with milk products