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What To Eat When You Have Lactose (Milk Sugar) Intolerance

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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What To Eat When You Have Lactose (Milk Sugar) Intolerance

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Sometimes HIV can give you such bad diarrhea that you won't be able to digest a certain sugar in milk which is called lactose. This may last for a few weeks, a few months or even longer. Your doctor may tell you to stay away from foods which contain lactose. Lactose is mostly found in milk and in many dairy products.

You should not eat these foods:

  • Regular (whole) milk, skim milk, low fat milk, evaporated milk, powdered milk, goat milk
  • Cheese (unless the label says it has been aged 90 days)
  • Instant coffee, cocoa or other chocolate beverages
  • Whipping cream, sour cream
  • Pudding and pudding pies, custard and custard pies
  • Ice cream or ice milk
  • Gravy or soup made with milk or cream
  • Party dips made with sour cream
  • Cream sauce on meats or vegetables

You might be able to tolerate these foods instead:

  • Sweet acidophilus milk (it will say "acidophilus" on the label)
  • Lactose-reduced milk (it will say "lactose reduced" on the label)
  • Buttermilk
  • Regular milk with "Lact-aid" added to it. You can buy Lact-aid at drug stores. it is a powder to add to milk. It digests the lactose for you and the milk tastes just fine.
  • Natural cheese which has been aged for 90 days or longer. Many cheddar and Swiss cheeses are aged for 90 days. Just read the label
  • Yogurt
  • Frozen yogurt desserts
  • Sherbert
  • Powdered coffee creamer such as "Coffeemate." You can use this in place of milk in many recipes.
  • Soybean milk. You can buy this canned at drug stores and at many grocery stores. Try soybean infant formulas ("Prosobee," "Nursoy," or "Isomil").
  • Special dietetic products that say "lactose free" on the label.
  • Kosher foods marked "pareve" are milk-free.


Adapted from Tennessee Department of Health, 1/00

Last reviewed January 2000 by ]]>EBSCO Publishing Editorial Staff]]>

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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