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Is It Really Lactose Intolerance?

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The article states that adults and adolescents who have been diagnosed with lactose malabsorption can tolerate at least 12 grams of lactose in a single dose. Generally, that’s one cup of milk.

There is additional straight talk about lactose intolerance on the website for the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), where a section on symptoms explains that lactose intolerance can cause varying amounts of discomfort between 30 minutes and two hours after ingesting milk products.

You might be tempted to self-diagnose lactose intolerance when you are having digestive discomfort, but the NDDIC describes an easy test that can actually measure the digestion of lactose.

Called the hydrogen breath test, it involves drinking a lactose-loaded beverage and then measuring hydrogen, which goes up in the presence of undigested lactose.

The NDDIC also points out that certain processed foods contain small amounts of lactose, including bread, pancake mix, instant potatoes, chips, salad dressing and non-dairy coffee creamers.

A diet supervised by a registered dietitian or other health care professional can ensure you are getting adequate nutrients while minimizing digestive discomfort, the NDDIC says.


Webb, Densie. “Demystifying Lactose Intolerance -- Successful Treatment Begins With an Accurate Diagnosis.” Today’s Dietitian Magazine. Web. 12 April 2012. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/040212p14.shtml

“Lactose Intolerance.” National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Web. 12 April 2012. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/lactoseintolerance/index.aspx

Reviewed April 13, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I would give this article a D-

The title is misleading, as only one sentence in the article relates to an alternative diagnosis. Additionaly, one of the key points made is the detriments of LI - that being the loss if calcium, vitamin D, etc., yet the suggested list of methods to combat LI fails to mention the most obvious and most culinarily and digestively satisfying: take a lactase enzyme supplement when eating dairy. A vast majority of sufferers can easily enjoy dairy products by taking a simple pill. How do you write an article on LI and not mention this?

April 22, 2012 - 9:15am
(reply to Anonymous)

Thanks for making your point about lactase enzyme supplements. Often in the interest of brevity I cannot list all the symptoms, causes, diagnostic methods and treatments for diseases and conditions. But anyone diagnosed with lactose intolerance certainly should ask for a doctor's advice on supplements.

April 23, 2012 - 2:33pm
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