What is Lactose intolerance

People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest the sugar (lactose) in milk. As a result, they have diarrhea, gas and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products. The condition, which is also called lactose malabsorption, is usually harmless, but its symptoms can be uncomfortable

Victoria Middleton

Victoria Middleton

Registered Dietitian
New York City, NY
HealthChoicesFirst practitioner

Madelyn Morgan

Registered Dietitian
Niagara falls, ON
HealthChoicesFirst practitioner

Leah Mete RD

Registered Dietitian
St. Catharines, ON

Quiz: Do You Understand Lactose Intolerance?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Lactose is a protein found in dairy products.

Patients with lactose intolerance do not produce enough enzymes to digest lactose, which is a sugar found in dairy products.

There may be a connection between consuming dairy and mental health.

Research shows that low fat dairy may have beneficial effects on social functioning and stress. However, whole fat dairy may be associated with increased depression, anxiety and stress.

Strenous exercise may exacerbate lactose intolerance symptoms.

Strenuous exercise can make the gut more sensitive to triggering foods than it is at rest. Many athletes with lactose intolerance choose to avoid dairy on training or exercise days, or choose lower-lactose dairy products such as yogurt.

Lactose intolerance is a condition that begins at birth.

Lactose intolerance can develop at any point in your life. As you get older, your lactase (the enzyme that helps the small intestine digest lactose) levels can start to decline.

Only dairy products contain lactose.

If you are lactose intolerant, be sure to read food labels. Many baked goods, cold cuts and candies contain lactose.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Ashley Charlebois, RD, discusses The Proper Management of Lactose Intolerance

What is Lactose Intolerance

If you’re experiencing digestive symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, you may be lactose intolerant, so what happens is that your body may not have enough of the enzymes responsible for breaking down lactose, which is called lactase.

In this case, you want to try to eliminate or avoid foods that have high contents of lactose in them, but there are alternatives that do have moderate to low amounts that you might be able to tolerate.

Lactose intolerance can actually develop later on in life, so if you never before had problems digesting lactose, but then all of a sudden you are starting to get some of the symptoms, you might want to consider that you do now have lactose intolerance.

There are solutions out there, there are things like over-the-counter medications such as Lactaid that might help to – that you would take before a meal to help you digest the lactose that you are eating in high lactose containing foods. There are also other medications that a doctor might prescribe to you.

So if you think you suffer from lactose intolerance, and you want to get diagnosed, visit your doctor, and for more dietary management solutions, go to your local dietitian.

Presenter: Ms. Ashley Charlebois, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

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