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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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(aid) – Cappuccino, chocolate icecream , vanilla pudding – no thanks? Worried about unpleasant side effects, people who are lactose intolerant often drastically reduce their consumption of milk and dairy products. But this blanket rejection, which affects their enjoyment of life, might not be necessary.

In fact, it’s only in the rarest cases that people find it necessary to eat a completely lactose-free diet. Often a moderately lactose-reduced diet with around 8 to 10 grams of lactose a day is perfectly acceptable. Many sufferers are reluctant to trust even lactose-reduced dairy products, although the labels will tell them that these products contain a maximum of 0.1 grams of lactose per 100 grams. These amounts are vanishingly small and, even for patients with an extremely marked lactose intolerance, they often don’t cause any problems at all. The best approach is to try a small sample and see how you react.

Moreover, it’s usually not necessary to stop eating cheese completely. Conventional hard and soft cheeses such as Emmental, butter cheese, Tilsit, Edam, Gouda or Parmesan are inherently lactose-free. The rule of thumb is that the more mature the cheese, whether it’s made of cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk, the less lactose it contains. Other cheeses with relatively little lactose include Havarti, Esrom, Limburger, Romadur or ‘wine cheese’. They too have a very low lactose content – less than 0.1 grams per 100 grams of cheese.

If you have problems with dairy products or you’re uncertain about what you should and shouldn’t eat, then it always pays to consult a qualified nutritionist or dietician. Cutting out dairy products completely has some downsides, mainly because you’ll be losing their nutritional value. The contain a lot of calcium and are also a source of vitamin D, B vitamins, iodine, fluorine and biologically high quality protein.

You should also be aware that dairy products aren’t the only foods that contain lactose. It can be found, for example, in fruit juice beverages, chocolates, dumplings or liver sausage. If you want to check which products contain lactose and which are lactose-free there are a lot of websites that will tell you. For German speakers, there’s the Internet portal www.laktonaut.de, with lists of over 8,000 named products in its database. It also lets you search for a local dealer who can supply, for example, a minimum-lactose mozzarella.

Source: Irmingard Dexheimer, www.aid.de