Can lactose intolerance sufferers ever drink milk or eat dairy products again?

The answer: Yes, in limited quantities.

Around 12 percent of the population consider themselves lactose intolerant, including both medically confirmed and self-diagnosed cases. In 2011 researchers found that lactose intolerance may be more psychological than physical, and many of the people in the study who complained of digesting small amounts of dairy were perfectly capable of digesting lactose. Read more here.

According to Toby Amidor, registered dietitian who consults and blogs for various food networks, “many folks are misinformed about what they can and cannot eat when they have lactose intolerance. They avoid milk and dairy products and miss out on all their benefits, culinary and nutritional.” (Amidor’s comments appeared recently in U.S. News and World Report and the New York Daily News.)

Read, “Lactose Intolerance: Let Them Drink Milk.”

Karen Kafer, vice president of health partnerships and communications for the National Dairy Council, told those attending a lactose intolerance webinar in 2011 that there is even more hope for those with lactose intolerance.

She cited the following statement from Melvin Heyman, a physician with the American Academy of Pediatrics: “Treatment of lactose intolerance by elimination of milk and other dairy products is not usually necessary given new approaches to lactose intolerance…”

Among those new approaches:

  • Include milk with other foods in a meal to help ease digestion.
  • Consume live-culture yogurts.
  • Choose natural cheese with minimum amounts of lactose.
  • Try milk products with reduced lactose or zero lactose.
  • Ease into it if you haven’t been consuming dairy, starting off at just half a serving of dairy at each meal.

Click here for more information.

Dairy Herd contributor Beverley Kreul also had a list of suggestions for incorporating dairy into a lactose-sensitive diet. Click here to read, “Advice for those who are lactose-intolerant.”