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Aug 24, 2006 06:56 PM

Lactose Intolerant? Here's help

I recently became lactose intolerant this year. Actually I think I was always lactose intolerant (memories of insisting to my mom that milk made me throw up- ok that might've been psychological but still), but this year it got pretty bad that even popping a lactase pill wasn't enough to avoid the tummyache after a glass of vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

So I'm a newbie to the unfair world of saying no thanks to ice cream. Today I found a few great resources on the web listing the lactose content of dairy foods, so I thought I'd share.

Here's a PDF from the U. of Virginia listing lactose content in grams of a short list of dairy foods:

Here's a website chock full of info (including avoid all foods that list whey in its ingredients, which can include bread!), but the website doesn't always identify its sources. I like the really long list of lactose percentages:

That website even has the lactose content of breast milk of 31 different mammals! Lactose intolerant? Avoid goat milk, it could be just as bad as cow milk. But drink platypus milk or sea lion milk to your heart's (& tummy's) content!

I've been sticking to Lactaid since I haven't found a rice or soy milk that tastes like cow milk, but I here are the suggestions for milk-alternatives that we recently had on this board:

And here are the suggestions for ice cream alternatives; I'll now have to start looking into these:

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  1. Alice, thanks for these great links and info.

    Have you tried the "soy beverage" (make sure it's the "plain," not the Vanilla) at Trader Joe's? I find that this is a relatively good imitation of cow milk. It doesn't taste sweet, and it doesn't have the soy/tofu taste either.

    I also think a lot of the excessively sweet coffee drinks and products exacerbate gastrointestinal distress. For instance, I find that n the the caramel macchiatto at Starbucks, it's more the caramel than the dairy that causes severe stomach cramps in me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pamela

      Tj's stocks WESTSOY brand soy milk, which in my opinion has almost the same mouthfeel as regular milk with little to no "soy taste." I get the regular flavor -- Vanilla is too much like a milkshake. Stay away from the lite and fat free versions though -- they are gross.

    2. Do you happen to find Lactaid milk too sweet at all? I'm not LI but my fiance is, and once in a while I get stuck drinking his milk when I run out of my Horizon Organic milk. We find Lactaid to be disturbingly sweet, so whenever he gets a chance, he tries to buy Land O Lakes Dairy Ease. It just tastes more like milk. I think Trader Joes carries this...

      1 Reply
      1. re: mrsry

        I don't like soy milk AND am lactose intolerant, not a good combo. You're right--too sweet. I like skim milk and there's no soy equivalent. I've been taking acidophilus, which seems to help a little bit.

      2. Oh yes, Lactaid milk is too sweet! Actually I've been drinking Lactaid or the Lucerne version (Safeway's dairy brand), and both taste the same (sweet). But the soy or rice flavor of soy/rice milk bugs me more than sweetness. I tried the soy milk at TJs a couple years ago but not the "soy beverage" so I'll look for that, as well as the Land O Lakes Dairy ease.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Alice Patis

          I really like Lucerne's skim lactose free milk, but I haven't been able to find a generic 1% - only the Lactaid brand. I've looked at Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter, Bloom and anywhere else that I find milk, but NO company has a generic 1% - they all have skim, 2% and whole. Is this part of a copyright agreement where Lactaid brand has exclusive rights to 1% lactose free milk?

          1. re: kwadz7

            Organic Valley has a 1% lactose free milk that's not terribly sweet. I can't stomach Lactaid brand at all, but like OV's other milks, this one tastes good, if a little sweeter than their regular 1%. I prefer this national brand (or a couple local ones) because OV answers inquiries about their procedures and policies, unlike Horizon. I have a feeling Horizon does just the minimum to meet organic standards.

          2. re: Alice Patis

            Lactaid milk is sweet because the lactose in it has been broken down into glucose... if 'lactose-free' milk is NOT sweet, then it's not lactose-free for my digestive tract to handle. I like the 2% with added calcium that they sell at Publix.

          3. I've been lactose intolerant since my late-20's yet remain a dairy lover. Here's my solution to funny-tasting Lactaid - Lacteeze Drops, mfd. by Gelda in Canada. I've ordered these for years now, and add them to my organic milk . . . no funny taste and you're drinking the milk you actually WANT to drink.


            1. Some people who are lactose intolerant have much less problem digesting non-homogenized milk (aka creamline or creamtop milk).

              2 Replies
              1. re: Karl S

                Raw milk is supposed to give even fewer people problems.

                My father is lactose intolerant but swears that warmed up milk doesn't give him any problems. Very strange, and I'm sure most people don't drink warm milk unless they have to (or in hot chocolate), but he says it works.

                1. re: Pei

                  I get very sick from regular milk, but raw milk doesn't give me ANY problems. I strongly recommend that those of you who have safe local producers give it a try. I have it in my coffee daily and I can drink a glass with cookies, no problem. I figure it's just the healthy bacteria helping me to digest it.