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  • 6 August 2021
  • All About Lactose

  • Lactose is a FODMAP found in many delicious treats derived from milk, such as many types of cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, but many of us have an intolerance to it.  How can FoodMarble help?

  • By Ricky Harrison, MPH
  • All About Lactose

  • Lactose is a FODMAP found in many delicious treats derived from milk, such as many types of cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, but many of us have an intolerance to it.  How can FoodMarble help?

What is Lactose?

Lactose is a carbohydrate that we typically do not have a problem with as newborns and throughout our infancy. As we age, however, many of us experience reduced production of lactase, the enzyme that specifically breaks down lactose. For those of us with lactose intolerance, this lack of lactase is where our problems begin. Lactose is found in dairy foods like milk and cream and can also sometimes be added to processed foods such as flavorings on potato chips.

 

How is lactose digested?

Normally, lactase enzymes go to work once lactose is detected in the small intestine – breaking lactose into galactose and glucose. The glucose is readily absorbed in most cases, and galactose is further broken down by lactase and other helpful enzymes.

What are the common symptoms associated with poor digestion of lactose?

Some people don’t produce enough lactase to break down all of the lactose they consume. Anything that was not broken down or absorbed in the small intestine is moved into the colon (large intestine) where fermentation begins and could lead to distressing symptoms. Consuming an amount of lactose that exceeds our daily threshold can lead us to suffer from symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea.

 

Can I test this myself?

The answer is yes! If you suspect that you have a malabsorption/ intolerance issue with lactose why not try our 6-Week Discovery Plan? In 6 weeks you will test your tolerance to 4 hard-to-digest food components; lactose, fructose, sorbitol, and inulin as well as get access to exclusive new app features to help you on your gut journey.

 

The FoodMarble AIRE Lactose Challenge

By navigating to the “Challenge” section of the app, you will be able to initiate the Lactose Challenge. The challenge will guide you through the process. First, mix the lactose with water and consume. Then you measure your breath hydrogen levels every 15 minutes for the next three hours.

You may experience symptoms during the challenge, so if you suspect that you are definitely lactose intolerant, I would recommend doing it when you have easy access to a loo! It is important to assess your level of symptoms during and especially after the testing period. In many cases, an increase in breath hydrogen may occur before you experience symptoms. This is because it can take some time for the gases to build up.

If you have completed a lactose breath test and experienced symptoms, we recommend you repeat the test (when you have no symptoms) using a much lower dose, around 12g (most people can tolerate up to 12g of lactose in one sitting). Finding your tolerance level is key to maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.

 

Examples of foods containing lactose

  • Milk – 200ml serving is high FODMAP
  • Cream – 40g serving is low FODMAP
  • Butter – 15g serving is low FODMAP
  • Ice-cream – 90g serving is a moderate FODMAPs
  • Cheddar cheese – 40g serving is low FODMAP
  • Feta cheese – 40g serving is low FODMAP
  • Halloumi cheese – 40g serving is low FODMAP
  • Custard – 100g serving is high FODMAP
  • By Ricky Harrison, MPH

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