Milk substitutes you must try if you are lactose intolerant. Pexels

If you're lactose intolerant, you don't need to miss out on milk.

We spoke to dietitian Jentty Ngobeni about milk substitute you can try if you are lactose intolerant.

Ngobeni says lactose intolerance is a clinical syndrome of one or more of the following: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence and or bloating after ingestion of lactose or lactose containing food substances.

“If one has lactose intolerance, it simply means that their body has trouble breaking down lactose, the natural sugar in milk. The amount of lactose that will cause symptoms varies from individual to individual, depending on the amount of lactose consumed, the degree of lactose deficiency and the form of food substances in which the lactose is ingested”, he said.

Lactose free milk

“Lactose free cow’s milk is available. Lactose free cow’s milk includes a lactose enzyme which breaks down the lactose into forms which people with lactose intolerance will be able to digest. This type of food for lactose intolerance has all the nutrition of regular milk, but it may taste a little sweeter.”

Yogurt.

Eat yogurt for less lactose

“When you're lactose intolerant, the dietary guidelines for Americans recommends that you choose dairy products with less lactose, such as yogurt with active bacterial cultures. 

Yogurt may cause less bloating - reason being much of the lactose has already been broken down by its good bacteria, but always keep in mind that a frozen yogurt does not have active cultures as a result it may not fit into your lactose intolerance diet.”

Say cheese

“Fermented cheese has less lactose than other dairy products and you may be able to tolerate them in small amounts. 

They are good if include them in your lactose intolerance diet because they are good sources of calcium and protein. 

Examples of hard or aged cheeses that are low in lactose are Swiss, Parmesan and blue cheese.”

Swiss cheese. Picture by Joe Greene

Increase dairy –free foods with calcium

“If your lactose intolerance is severe and you need to avoid all dairy foods, you can get plenty of calcium from leafy green vegetables. 

Vegetables high in calcium include spinach, broccoli and certain greens like kale. Example, one cup of cooked spinach has about 250 mg of calcium."

Soy milk.

Soy milk

“Soy milk is made with either soybeans or soy protein isolate and often contains thickeners and vegetable oils to improve taste and consistency. 

The National Academy of Science recommends that both men and women nineteen to fifty years should get about 1000mg of calcium every day. 

That translates to about three glasses of milk a day. What can you do if your lactose intolerance?

 One option is soy milk fortified with calcium, which may have up to 500mg of calcium in serving. Avoid using soy milk as a substitute for anyone with a milk allergy.”