Lactose Intolerance

Low-Lactose Fresh Milk Now in Israel

Are you lactose intolerant?
Fresh, lactose-free milk has been sold in the US for years. And now it’s finally available in Israel. Tnuva’s low-lactose 2% milk, packaged in their familiar liter cartons, is now in the dairy case of most stores. It contains only 1 gram of lactose per cup (200 ml), which makes it nearly lactose-free.
Until now, I’ve been buying lactase drops (from Canada) and treating every liter of milk that we buy. Since I’m extremely intolerant to lactose, I was a little hesitant to try “low-lactose” milk.  But I can drink it with no problem at all. And it tastes normal – not like the low-lactose 3% milk that’s sold here in shelf-stable boxes.
This is a welcome treat for those of us who enjoy drinking and/or cooking with cow’s milk, or don’t particularly enjoy soy, rice or almond milk in our coffee. It’s also another good source of calcium for those of us who might not be getting enough.
By the way, even if you’re lactose intolerant, you may still be able to eat some dairy products, like yogurt and hard cheese. Start by eating just a little. Or try eating dairy products together with non-dairy foods. You’ll have to try different dairy foods in various amounts to know what you can tolerate.
Tnuva lists a number of their dairy foods that are low in lactose. The follow contain no more than 1 gram of lactose per 100 ml/gm:
Diet Yoplait
Yoplait 360 (probiotic drink)
Pirius Bulgarit 5% (hard white cheese)
Emek 9% Cheese
Emek  cheese “fingers”
Shock 20% less sugar (chocolate milk)
Unless a company markets the fact that their products are low in lactose, it’s hard to know if they might agree with you or not. I know, for instance, that I can easily digest Activia yogurt, while other yogurts sometimes cause bloating and discomfort. 
If you’ve shied away from dairy because you’re lactose intolerant, this may just be the time for you to try the new low-lactose milk and some of the other low-lactose dairy products now being sold in Israel.  
Facebook Twitter Plusone Email

Calcium and Dairy Alternatives

I haven’t stopped eating dairy. I know I’m at risk for osteoporosis, and calcium is important for my bones (along with exercise and a diet high in vegetables and fruits).

Besides, I like it. I use soy, rice and almond milk in parve baking, but I can’t get used to it in coffee. I like the flavor of low-fat ricotta cheese in cooking and baking. We also enjoy dairy puddings, a bit of feta cheese in summer salads and milk-based gelato.

My solution is to take lactase tablets (Lactaid) when I eat dairy. The pills fill in for the lactase that’s missing in my system. I treat our milk with drops that remove most of the lactose. And to further minimize adverse effects, I try to eat dairy together with other, non-dairy foods. To get enough calcium, I eat a cup of yogurt a day and take a calcium supplement.

Here’s the recommended amount of calcium you should try to get each day:

Age (years) Calcium (mg/day)

1-3 500

4-8 800

9-18 1300

19-50 1000

51+ 1200

If you don’t eat dairy, try to get calcium from other sources. Some non-dairy beverages add it in. There’s also calcium-fortified orange juice. Check the nutrition label to see just how much you’re getting per serving.

Some non-dairy foods are naturally high in calcium, like canned sardines and salmon when eaten with the bones, tofu made with calcium, almonds, techinah, kale, broccoli and dried figs. (I know people who eat a lot of kale, but how many figs can you eat?)

Even if you eat dairy products, it’s often hard to get enough calcium. When you’re lactose intolerant and eating just a little, or no dairy at all, it’s especially hard. So your physician or dietitian might recommend a calcium supplement to reach the minimum recommended amount for your age.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Email

Lactose Intolerance

I enjoy dairy foods – Salad with feta cheese, yogurt with granola, an occasional cappuccino. But years ago my digestive system started saying “no” to dairy. I discovered that I was lactose intolerant.

Lactose intolerance isn’t an allergy. It’s the inability to digest lactose – the sugar in milk. It happens when the body doesn’t produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose. Instead of getting properly digested, the lactose sticks around in the intestines and causes problems, like bloating, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Sometimes it just happens as we get older. It can run in families or in ethnic groups.

Does it mean that you can’t eat any dairy any more? Not necessarily. Most people who are lactose intolerant can eat dairy products that are low in lactose, like yogurt, hard cheeses and cottage cheese. Some people can drink small amounts of milk, especially with food. Eating yogurt made with active cultures may even help improve lactose digestion.

It’s a matter of trial and error.

Are you lactose intolerant? Don’t assume so before checking with your physician, who can request a blood or breathe test to find out for sure. Meanwhile, you can try this experiment: Stop eating all dairy products for two weeks. If your symptoms disappear, eat a little dairy. Wait a few days to see how you feel. This way you can figure out just what (and how much) you can comfortably eat.

Next…calcium and dairy alternatives

Facebook Twitter Plusone Email

Chana Rubin, RD

Food for the Soul

Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating
By Chana Rubin, RD

Buy the Book

Sign up for Emails

Enter your email address: