Lactose free milk is a good option for folks who struggle with digesting regular milk. It’s got lactase, which is an enzyme that helps break down lactose. Plus, it pretty much tastes, feels and has the same nutrients as regular milk.
Many individuals cannot consume milk and dairy products
If you’re lactose intolerant, even a small glass of milk can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
Switching to lactose-free milk is a simple solution that can alleviate many of these discomforts.
However, there’s often confusion about what lactose-free milk is, how it’s produced, and how it stacks up against regular milk.
This article explores the similarities and distinctions between lactose free milk and regular milk.
What Is Lactose Free Milk?
Lactose free milk is a type of commercially available milk that doesn’t contain lactose.
Lactose is a natural sugar present in dairy products, which can be hard for some individuals to digest.
Manufacturers make lactose-free milk by adding lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, to regular cow’s milk. This process allows lactose-intolerant individuals to enjoy milk without experiencing discomfort.
The resulting lactose-free milk has a similar taste, texture, and nutrient content as regular milk. It can be used interchangeably in recipes, making it a convenient alternative for those with lactose intolerance.
Contains the Same Nutrients as Milk
Even though lactose free milk is treated with lactase to aid lactose digestion, it maintains the same impressive nutrient content as regular milk.
Similar to standard milk, the lactose free option is rich in protein, offering around 8 grams per 1-cup (240-ml) serving.
Additionally, it contains essential micronutrients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and riboflavin.
Moreover, many varieties are fortified with vitamin D, a crucial nutrient with limited food sources but significant health benefits.
Thus, switching from regular milk to lactose-free milk ensures you still receive all the essential nutrients found in regular milk.
Easier to Digest for Some People
Most individuals are born with the capability to digest lactose, the primary sugar found in milk.
However, approximately 75% of the global population loses this ability as they age, resulting in a condition known as lactose intolerance.
This transition typically happens between the ages of 2 and 12. Some people maintain their ability to digest lactose into adulthood, while others experience a decline in the activity of lactase, the enzyme responsible for digesting and breaking down lactose.
For individuals with lactose intolerance, consuming regular milk containing lactose can lead to digestive discomfort such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and belching.
However, because lactose free milk is supplemented with lactase, it is easier for those with lactose intolerance to tolerate, making it a viable alternative to regular milk.
Tastes Sweeter Than Regular Milk
One significant contrast between lactose-free milk and regular milk lies in their flavors.
When lactase, the enzyme added to lactose free milk, breaks lactose down into glucose and galactose, these simple sugars are perceived as sweeter by your taste buds compared to the complex sugars found in regular milk.
While this alteration doesn’t affect the nutritional content of the milk and the flavor discrepancy is subtle, it’s something to consider when substituting lactose-free milk for regular milk in recipes.
Still a Dairy Product
While lactose free milk can serve as a beneficial substitute for regular milk among individuals with lactose intolerance, it might not be suitable for everyone due to its dairy content.
For individuals with a dairy allergy, consuming lactose-free milk could trigger allergic reactions, leading to symptoms such as digestive discomfort, hives, and vomiting.
Moreover, since lactose-free milk is derived from cow’s milk, it is not appropriate for individuals adhering to a vegan diet.
Lastly, those opting for a dairy-free lifestyle, whether for personal preferences or health concerns, should avoid both regular and lactose-free milk.
The Bottom Line
Lactose free milk is created by introducing lactase into regular milk, which breaks down lactose into simpler sugars, making it easier to digest.
Despite being slightly sweeter, it can be a beneficial option for individuals with lactose intolerance.
However, it is not suitable for individuals with a dairy allergy or those who abstain from dairy for other reasons.