DAIRY FREE, GLUTEN FREE, CAFFEINE FREE, SUGAR FREE etc.
Yet another unmissable trend in the dieting world but is it really a trend or is there more to it? We’ve recently found out yet another intolerance two members of the Moroccan Natural team have; lactose. This does not mean we must avoid milk and dairy products like the plague, but we have done some digging and tried to understand more about how lactose intolerances work, how they can affect you and what the next available steps are.
What is lactose intolerance?
Firstly, what is lactose? Lactose is a sugar that is found in milk containing products, and of course, milk. The intolerance is a condition that is the result of the small intestine being unable to break down the lactose into simpler forms of sugar that the body can absorb and use once entering the bloodstream. The small intestine produces low levels of lactase, which in turn means the body cannot absorb it and must reject it.
If one is intolerant to lactose, the severity of the symptoms vary among people, but they almost always include symptoms such as bloating, gas and diarrhoea after eating or drinking any milk or milk products.
Many people are born with lactose intolerance, while some gradually develop the intolerance either in their teenage or adult years. There have many studies undertaken to understand this, and the result is a Lactase Deficiency. This has been broken down into 4 different types, which look into the ways a deficiency may have occurred.
The 4 Types of Lactase Deficiency
- Primary Lactase Deficiency
This is the most common type of deficiency, wherein which the lactase production gradually declines after the age of 2. However, in some cases it may appear over time either in the teenage years or adult years. There have been some studies that suggest this may also be genetic and passed on between parents and their children.
- Secondary Lactase Deficiency
This is the result of an injury to the smaller intestine, impairing it from being able to function properly and help break down lactose. This could be due to infections, diseases or any other type of injury that might affect the small intestine. It is sometimes treatable, and if treated, the lactose intolerance will gradually disappear.
- Developmental Lactase Deficiency
If an infant is born premature, their ability to break down milk through their smaller intestine may not be possible for a few months as their bodies continue to develop.
- Congenital Lactase Deficiency
The rarest type of lactase deficiency, when in which the small intestine produces little to no lactase in order to break down the lactose found in milk, causing the body to reject it outright. This is extremely rare, and in many cases can be hereditary from parents.
As always, we advise you to see a health professional first and foremost, as they will be able to diagnose you and treat you adequately. If you suspect a milk lactose intolerance, and wish to conduct your own test at home, then you are more than welcome to do so.
To see if you may lactose intolerance, we suggest drinking a glass of milk on an empty stomach, and waiting 2 hours to see if any symptoms appear. The symptoms in detail are as follows:
- Abdominal Pain
- Abdominal bloating, a feeling of fullness or swelling in the abdomen
This does not necessarily mean you must abstain from anything you once know that contained milk. Thanks to advances in culinary and science, more milk substitutes are available, and widely used in a range of products. Companies such as Alpro and Lactofree cater to a dairy free market by using soymilk rather than regular cows milk.
There are also many other types of milk that can be used to drink, cook and experiment with. Almond milk is the healthiest alternative, and delivers maximum flavour. Coconut milk is also used as an alternative, but has a rather sweet taste, which makes it excellent for coffees, baking and sweet treats, allowing you to skip out extra sugar in recipes due to the milks sweet taste. There is also rice milk, hazelnut milk and more. The alternatives are widely available; don’t fret! All the milky things you enjoy can still be enjoyed through their substitutes.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks post. Do let us know your findings if you try out our lactose intolerance test. For all things Moroccan Natural, Follow our Twitter page @MoroccanNatural, Instagram @Moroccan_Natural or find us on Facebook @ Moroccan Natural.