Lactose Intolerance

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By the end of this session you will:

people eating pizza
  • Choose at least 3 non-dairy foods that contain at least 20% or 200 mg calcium.
  • Recognize 2 symptoms of lactose intolerance.
  • Identify 2 tips on how to manage dairy products.

Why do we need calcium in our diets?  

Calcium plays a critical role in building strong and healthy bones.  It is also essential for bone, teeth development and maintenance, muscle contraction and nerve transmission.  A deficiency can lead to heart palpitations, muscle cramps, tooth and bone weakening. 


activity 1

* 1. Most of us have trouble getting enough calcium in our daily diets.  It is estimated that roughly 75% of Americans don't get the recommended amounts of calcium that they need on a daily basis.  When you don't consume enough calcium, your body robs what it needs from your bones and weakens them.  This puts you at risk for a disease called: 

           

Milk products are the richest source of dietary calcium, yet some people have problems digesting these dairy products.  When a person cannot digest lactose, the sugar in milk, they may have lactose intolerance.  


What is Lactose Intolerance?

milk

True lactose intolerance means that your body has trouble processing the lactose that is in milk and other dairy products (It is not an allergy).  Your body has an enzyme called lactase, which breaks apart the lactose in the milk.  People with lactose intolerance have difficulty digesting milk because their bodies don't have enough lactase.  You need lactase to fully break down the lactose into a simple sugar that your body can use.  However, most children can tolerate lactose.  African-American, Mexican-American, and American Indian children and Asian Pacific Islanders are more likely than Caucasian children to be lactose intolerant.  Even if a child is diagnosed with lactose intolerance, he can usually drink one to two cups of milk a day without experiencing abdominal discomfort.
        
A doctor can determine true lactose intolerance by conducting a hydrogen breath test.  If you think that you or your child may be lactose intolerant, talk to your doctor.  AVOID TRYING TO DIAGNOSE YOURSELF.

Even if your doctor diagnoses you with lactose intolerance, you can still drink milk.  You will have to test your tolerance.  Start off with a small amount and gradually increase the portion size until you notice symptoms.

Once again, lactose intolerance is a type of food intolerance.  It's not an allergy.  Milk allergies occur when the body's immune system reacts to the protein in milk.  Lactose intolerance occurs when the body has trouble breaking down the milk sugar.

If you are lactose intolerant you may experience some symptoms such as bloating, nausea, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort after eating or drinking foods containing milk sugar (lactose).  Many people have less severe symptoms and can handle a glass of milk.  Others may feel discomfort after drinking a small amount.


activity 2

1. Name 2 symptoms of Lactose Intolerance.


* 2. Lactose intolerance is the same as being allergic to milk.
    

* 3. If I have lactose intolerance, I can't tolerate any milk or dairy products at all.
    

* 4. If I have the symptoms of lactose intolerance, I should consult a physician and avoid diagnosing myself. 
    


If I am Lactose Intolerant does that mean I can't eat any dairy products?

  • There are still some dairy products you may be able to eat without the symptoms.  Cheese is often well tolerated.  More than half the amount of lactose is removed when cheese is made.  Aged, hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Swiss and Parmesan are low in lactose, which makes it easier to digest.
  • Yogurt is another dairy product that can be digested without the symptoms of lactose intolerance.  Choose yogurt that contains "lactobacillus". Milk and Cheese This is a "friendly" bacteria used to make yogurt and helps you digest the lactose.
  • Some people can tolerate one to two cups of milk a day.  The trick is to drink it with other foods.  Don't drink milk on an empty stomach.  Eating solid foods with a serving of dairy products will help to slow the digestion of lactose, which in turn helps to alleviate some of the symptoms of lactose intolerance. 
  • You can reduce the lactose in dairy products by adding lactase drops to milk.  WIC also offers you a choice of acidophilus milk.  In this milk, the amount of lactose is reduced.  In addition to this, Lactaid milk is available on store shelves.  Lactaid is milk, where the lactase enzyme has already digested the milk sugar.  You will need to see a nutritionist to determine if you need a special food package to obtain this kind of milk. 
  • Lactose-reduced milk contains the same amounts of protein, vitamins A, D and riboflavin, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium as regular milk.  Some lactose-reduced milk is also calcium fortified.  Check the Nutrition Facts label for the amounts of nutrients in milk.
activity 3

1. Can you identify 2 tips on managing dairy products with lactose intolerance?



Do other non-dairy foods contain lactose?

Some non-dairy foods may include ingredients that contain lactose. The ingredient list on food packages informs you of lactose-containing ingredients in the food. Although dairy products are the most common sources of lactose, some nondairy processed or baked foods contain smaller amounts. People who have symptoms of lactose intolerance when they consume small amounts of milk or dairy products should look for words such as:

  • whey
  • lactose
  • nonfat milk solids
  • buttermilk
  • malted milk
  • margarine
  • sweet cream
  • sour cream

Some breads, dry cereals, cookies, instant soups, breakfast drinks, and milk chocolate contain small amounts of lactose.  Talk to a pharmacist if medications you take contain lactose.

Can I get calcium from non-dairy products?

You can certainly obtain calcium from non-dairy products.  A lot of foods are now fortified with calcium.  Fortified means 'to strengthen or enrich'.  For example you can now buy 'V-8' juice fortified with 30% calcium or fortified orange juice. There are other food groups that contain calcium. Dark green leafy vegetables and beans also contain calcium. You will need to practice reading food labels to determine how much calcium is in a certain food.

With today's food labels, consumers get:

Nutrition Facts
  • Nutrition information about almost every food in the grocery store
  • Distinctive, easy-to-read formats that enable consumers to quickly find the information they need to make healthful food choices
  • Information on the amount per serving of saturated fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, and other nutrients of major health concern
  • Nutrient reference values, expressed as % Daily Values, that help consumers see how a food fits into an overall daily diet
  • Uniform definitions for terms that describe a food's nutrient content--such as "light," "low-fat," and "high-fiber"--to ensure that such terms mean the same for any product on which they appear
  • Claims about the relationship between a nutrient or food and a disease or health-related condition, such as calcium and osteoporosis, and fat and cancer. These are helpful for people who are concerned about eating foods that may help keep them healthier longer.

Below is a list of foods that contain calcium.  On the Nutrition Label, Calcium is listed in %.  If a food has 250mg of calcium, the Nutrition Label will list it as 25% calcium.  Take a look at the different foods that contain calcium.

*The foods that are highlighted are non-dairy products.

Food Item

Serving size

% Calcium

mg of calcium

Calcium fortified orange juice  (read label; cereal differ)

1 cup

25%

250 mg

Calcium fortified cereal (read label; cereal differ)

1 bowl

20%

200 mg

Calcium fortified cereal bar (read label; cereal differ)

1 bar

20%

200 mg

Yogurt, plain

8 oz.

40%

400 mg

Yogurt, fruit flavored

8 oz.

30%

300 mg

Milk, all types

1 cup

30%

300 mg

Swiss cheese

1 oz. 

30%

300 mg

Hard cheese

1 oz.

20%

200 mg

Salmon, canned with bones

3 oz.

20%

200 mg

Sardines, canned with bones

2 oz.

20%

200 mg

Frozen dairy dessert, including ice cream, ice milk, and frozen yogurt

1/2 cup

10%

100 mg

Custard

1/2 cup

10%

100 mg

Tofu processed with calcium

1/2 cup

10%

100 mg

Turnip greens

1/2 cup cooked

10%

100 mg

Spinach

1/2 cup cooked

10%

100 mg

Cottage cheese

1/2 cup

7.5%

75 mg

Almonds

1 oz.

7.5%

75 mg

Dried Beans

1/2 cup cooked

5%

50 mg

Mustard greens

1/2 cup cooked

5%

50 mg

Broccoli

1/2 cup cooked

5%

50 mg

Orange

1 medium

5%

50 mg

Figs, dried

2 figs

5%

50 mg

Corn tortilla, including tortilla chips

1 oz.

5%

50 mg

Pancakes (4" diameter)

3

5%

50 mg

Eggs

1 large

3%

30 mg

Carrots

1/2 cup cooked

2.5%

25 mg

Dates

10 dried

2.5%

25 mg

Raisins

1/3 cup

2.5%

25 mg

Orange Juice

1 cup

2.5%

25 mg

Bread made with milk

1 slice or roll

2.5%

25 mg

Using the chart above, calculate how much calcium you or your child are getting per day.

Type of Meal Mg/Calcium

So, how much calcium do YOU or YOUR CHILD need?

Look at the chart below to figure out how much calcium you need EACH DAY!

AGE GROUP % CALCIUM mg CALCIUM
Birth to 6 months 21% 210 mg
6-12 months 27% 270 mg
1-3 years 50% 500 mg
4-8 years 80% 800 mg
9-18 years 130% 1,300 mg
Pregnant or Lactating teens 130% 1,300 mg
Adults 19-50 100% 1,000 mg
Recommendations based on the Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, National Academy of Sciences, 1997

activity 4


   

2.Is your child getting the recommended amounts of calcium every day?
       


   

4. List 3 non-dairy products you can enjoy that still contain at least 20% calcium?
   

   

   


Here is a list of websites for more information for you and your child.  Have fun!

Calcium Websites:
www.drink-milk.com

Recipe Links:
School Nutrition Association
www.familyfoodzone.com

Thank you for completing the Lactose Intolerance Education Component. 

  

 * Where are you taking today's lesson?
 
 
 
   

You have completed the Child Class on “Lactose Intolerance”. If you have any questions or comments, please contact your LWP nutritionist who will be glad to answer any of your questions. 

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