Do you avoid dairy products because you’re lactose intolerant? Do you prefer the creaminess and taste of dairy milk but it’s not worth the aftermath of cramps and bloating?
What causes lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose properly, the naturally-occurring sugar found in milk and milk products. Normally, the body breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose with the help of an enzyme known as lactase. People with lactose intolerance don’t produce enough of the lactase enzyme to digest lactose. When lactose is undigested, it travels to the large intestine where it’s fermented by gut bacteria, causing digestive distress in the form of diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloating and excessive flatulence (wind). Lactose intolerance is largely caused by your genetic make-up. People from East Asian, West African, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds have a 70-95% chance of being lactose intolerant.1 In Caucasians, it’s estimated that 1 in 20 people experience some degree of lactose intolerance.1
Thankfully, people with lactose intolerance don’t need to miss out on the benefits of dairy products. There are lactose-free milks available, like Norco lactose-free (full cream and lite), so you can enjoy the goodness and creaminess of milk without the side effects.
What are the key benefits of lactose free milk?
There are many benefits of lactose-free milk for those with lactose intolerance. Dairy products are an essential component of a healthy whole food diet and lactose-free milks mean you won’t miss out on their healthy goodness. Here are some of the reasons to include lactose-free milk in your diet if lactose is tricky for you to digest.
- Lactose-free milk is easy on the stomach – With lactose-free milk, lactase is added to make it easier to digest. Remember lactase is the enzyme that people with lactose intolerance are unable to produce enough of. People who experience symptoms of lactose intolerance can still enjoy the taste and goodness of milk in their morning coffee, cereal and smoothies without the risk of digestive discomfort.
- You can still enjoy the health benefits of dairy – There is no denying that milk is a superior source of protein and an excellent source of essential nutrients including calcium, vitamin B2, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iodine, vitamin A and vitamin B12.2 These are critical for building and maintaining strong bones, muscles, nerves and organs. Replacing milk with other foods that are comparably nutritious can be difficult and may lead to nutritional deficiencies in the long term. In Ayurvedic medicine, milk is seen as providing special and unique nutrition that cannot be derived from any other food. It is thought to nourish all the body’s tissues and to promote balance. Having the option of lactose-free milk means you won’t miss out on the many key nutrients and health benefits that regular milk provides if lactose gives you tummy troubles.
- It’s superior to milk alternatives – You might think it’s healthier to switch out cow’s milk to a non-dairy plant-based alternative if you’re lactose intolerant, but these do not provide the same complete nutrient package. Many plant-based milk alternatives like soy, rice, coconut and almond contain far less protein than dairy milk and differ significantly in terms of nutritional composition. Milk is a ‘complete’ protein source, meaning it contains the whole profile of essential amino acids the body needs for optimum health. Milk-alternatives typically add nutrients or ‘fortify’ their products to mimic the nutritional value of cow’s milk. Some also include other additives that might not be ideal for a wholesome and nutritious diet. Cow’s milk is a natural wholefood source of many nutrients, additives and fortification aren’t needed. Lactose-free milk may therefore be a healthier alternative to milk than plant-based products for those who are intolerant to lactose.
- It tastes amazing – Nothing beats the creaminess and velvety texture of dairy milk especially in your morning coffee. Many baristas will agree that full-fat dairy milk is the best way to achieve a sweet, creamy coffee that enhances the coffee flavour. It’s also ideal in baking. The unique characteristics of dairy milk improve the texture of baked goods and can create a softer crumb in cakes and cookies. Lactose-free milk can even taste sweeter than regular milk without any added sugar or sweeteners. This is because when lactose is broken down into glucose and galactose with the help of lactase, it has a sweeter taste profile than lactose itself. Perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Norco lactose-free milk (full-cream and lite) has the creamiest and tastiest lactose-free milk on the market and is ideal for those who love the taste and benefits of milk but struggle with a sensitive tummy. Don’t forget also, when you buy Norco Lactose Free Milk, you are supporting Aussie farmers, the only 100% Australian Farmer Owned Dairy Company – now that tastes even better!