Cutting down your intake of milk products that contain lactose from your diet most often eases symptoms. Also look at food labels for hidden sources of lactose in non-milk products (even some beers) and avoid these.
Most people with low lactase levels can drink up to one-half cup of milk at one time (2 to 4 ounces) without having symptoms. Larger servings (more than 8 oz.) may cause problems for people with the deficiency.
Milk products that may be easier to digest include:
- Buttermilk and cheeses (which contain less lactose than milk)
- Fermented milk products, such as yogurt
- Goat's milk
- Ice cream, milkshakes, and aged or hard cheeses
- Lactose-free milk and milk products
- Lactase-treated cow's milk for older children and adults
- Soy formulas for infants younger than 2 years
- Soy or rice milk for toddlers
You can add lactase enzymes to regular milk. You can also take these enzymes as capsules or chewable tablets. There are also many lactose-free dairy products available.
Not having milk in your diet can lead to a shortage of calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, and protein. You need 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium each day depending on your age and gender. Some things you can do to get more calcium in your diet are:
- Take calcium supplements with Vitamin D. Talk to your health provider about which ones to choose.
- Eat foods that have more calcium (such as leafy greens, oysters, sardines, canned salmon, shrimp, and broccoli).
- Drink orange juice with added calcium.