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Can milk be bad for you?

Do you feel gassy, nauseated and bloated after eating a dairy product? Chances are you have lactose intolerance which means your body can't digest lactose. Shikha Sharma tells you how to deal with it.

brunch Updated: Jul 19, 2014 18:20 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times

If you feel nauseated or gassy and bloated after eating a dairy product, chances are you have lactose intolerance.

This means your body cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products, because your small intestine does not make enough of an enzyme called lactase to break down, or digest, lactose.

Most people with lactose intolerance can eat or drink some amount of dairy without digestive trouble. But the amount of lactose that can be tolerated varies from individual to individual.

Reactions can occur 30 minutes to two hours after consuming milk or milk products and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms include:
* Abdominal bloating or pain
* Diarrhoea
* Gas
* Nausea, vomiting

If you avoid dairy products because you are lactose intolerant, eat calcium-rich foods or take a calcium supplement so your body still gets the nutrient. A shortage of calcium in children and adults may lead to bones that are less dense and can easily fracture later in life, a condition called osteoporosis.

* Gradually introduce small amounts of milk or milk products in your diet to help you adapt to them. * Have milk or milk products with meals, such as milk with cereal.
* Chances are, you can tolerate dahi better than milk.
* Lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk and milk products are widely available and identical nutritionally.
* Get your dose of calcium from salmon, tuna, spinach and broccoli.
* Drink soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk or peanut milk instead.


* Avoid high-lactose foods such as milk, ice cream and cheese.

* Avoid bread and baked goods, cereals, salad dressings, candies, and snacks with lactose.

* There is lactose in medications such as birth control pill, and tablets for stomach acid and gas. So let your doctor know you’re lactose intolerant.

From HT Brunch, July 20
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