Recently, lactose-free milk has become increasingly popular and is now available in almost every grocery store. What are the properties of lactose-free milk? Will it help you lose weight Or is it just another ordinary part of a diet plan? You will find the answer to this question in the following article!
What is lactose intolerance?
Since not everyone needs to be a specialist in nutrition or biology, before discussing the properties of lactose-free milk, it’s worth explaining what lactose itself is and what it contains. Lactose is a complex sugar, formed by combining two simple sugars, i.e. glucose and galactose.
It can be found in milk, kefir, cheese, ice cream, buttermilk, yogurt, and even sweets. The condition of lactose digestion is its prior breakdown by simple sugars – in the human body, this task is done by the enzyme called lactase.
It is assumed that children have the highest amount of lactase, especially newborns and infants, and this is due to the fact that with age, the concentration of lactase in the intestines simply decreases, which in turn may cause difficulties in digesting lactose by our body and, as a result, various digestive disorders.
Lactose intolerance occurs when our body is unable to produce the appropriate amount of the enzyme (lactase) or does not produce it at all, which results in the fact that this milk sugar – lactose – is not broken down and remains in its undigested form in the digestive tract.
Both lactose-free milk and other lactose-free foods are made by adding the enzyme lactase to the composition, which is designed to break down lactose into two easily digestible simple sugars, glucose, and galactose.
When it comes to calories – here we do not have good news for people who want to get rid of extra pounds, because lactose does not affect the caloric value in any way – milk with lactose, as well as without it, has nearly the same caloric value. Therefore, people suffering from diabetes, insulin resistance, and those who want to lose weight should think twice before including lactose-free dairy products in their daily diet.
Contrary to popular belief, the highest levels of lactose are not found in regular milk, but in whey, milk powder, coffee cream, and condensed milk. Strictly in terms of milk, it can be pointed out that each type of milk, i.e. cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk has an average of 4-5 g of lactose per 100 g of product. On the other hand, the least amount of lactose is present in various types of cheese.
Although lactose-free milk is sweeter than regular milk, it is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as
- Vitamin A
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
- B vitamins
This allows us to supplement deficiencies of some nutrients. Importantly, such milk also has milk proteins in its composition, so if you are allergic to milk proteins, then unfortunately a lactose-free product is not the choice for you and your diet should not include it.
What if you want to consume lactose products while suffering from lactose intolerance?
If someone doesn’t like lactose-free milk because of its sweet taste and higher glycemic index, and therefore higher risk of gaining extra pounds, they can take supplements with digestive enzymes. They include for example lactase in tablet form. However, before you choose supplements, you should get professional help and visit a specialist, who will indicate the right drugs and the dosage in your daily diet. This will help us avoid unwanted gastric upsets.