LACTOSE: Milk’s Sugar
Lactose • Lactose is a sugar that is found most notably in milk. • Lactose makes up ~2-8% of milk by weight.
Lactose: The Structure • Lactose is a disaccharide that is made up of a glucose molecule and a galactose molecule.
Lactose: The Digestion • In order to digest lactose, the body utilizes an enzyme called lactase. • Lactase is secreted by the intestinal villi. • Once secreted lactase cuts the molecule into its two subunits, glucose & galactose. • Glucose and galactose can then be absorbed by the body.
Lactose Intolerance • Lactose intolerance occurs when the body does not have enough lactase (the enzyme) to digest lactose (the sugar). • Being lactose intolerant does not require a person to avoid all dairy foods!
Lactose Intolerance • The amount of lactase a person has is genetic. • Lower levels of lactase may result in symptoms like: diarrhea, gas or bloating if more lactose is eaten than a person can handle at once. • This means that people with lactose intolerance can still enjoy milk!
Lactose Intolerance • Getting a medical diagnosis is important! • Avoid self-diagnosis because there may be other factors or causes for the symptoms present.
Tips for Incorporating Dairy • Try smaller portions of dairy products. This allows what lactase enzyme there is to work on digesting, and will also allow you to monitor how much dairy you can handle. • Consider cheese. It has less lactose than a lot of dairy products.
Tips for Incorporating Dairy • Yogurt has bacteria that helps to digest lactose. • Try lactose-free milk. It still has all nine essential nutrients that regular milk has.
Calcium is one of dairy’s most important nutrients. Because of this do not let lactose intolerance stop you from getting your 3-A-Day of low-fat, or fat-free milk, cheese, or yogurt.