This is a short guide to lactose free products for anyone who has just been diagnosed as lactose intolerant, or who has a lactase-challenged person in their lives, and wants to find out more about what products maybe suitable for them.
Dairy free products
These products are free from any kind of dairy, such as cows’ milk. They usually use a substitute for the milk, to try to produce a flavour or texture as close to their dairy counterparts as possible. A classic example of this kind of product is soya-based substitutes. This can include soya milk, yoghurt and cream. These kinds of products have been around for some time, and used to be the main substitute for those wishing or needing to avoid lactose. As time has gone on, a wider range has become available, and you often find other dairy free substitutes such as coconut, almond and rice within this range. The taste and texture of these products have come a long way. Personally, I would recommend the Alpro brand, not only for taste and texture, but for the extra nutrients they add, as it is important to make sure you are getting enough Calcium and B12 in your lactose free diet.
Vegan is a category closely linked to the dairy free one described above. This tends to be more useful when trying to find chocolate treats to include in your diet! Often vegan substitutes for products such as chocolates and biscuits can be very good. In addition, the vegan logo tells you that something is completely dairy (and therefore lactose) free. This really helps when going through the process of label checking, which becomes an integral part of the weekly shop!
This seems to be a fairly recent innovation in the market. Instead of substituting the cows’ milk for something else, a lactase enzyme is added, and the product is often filtered more than it normally would be to remove the lactose. As we know, if you are lactose intolerant, your body can’t break down the lactose due to a lack of lactase enzyme. This product does that work for your body, so you can enjoy real cows milk products! I have to say, I am a huge fan of this new range of products, which includes milk, cheese, yoghurts, milkshakes, cream and spreads. It seems that the range is increasing all the time, and different companies are beginning to get on board with the lactose free products. The main benefits are, of course, that it still includes all the nutrients of cows’ milk, and tastes great into the bargain! It is, however, not suitable if you have a milk allergy rather than a lactose intolerance.