Lifting the Veil on Lactose Intolerance
|Jean H. Ragalie, RD|
National Dairy Council
With 2013 comes a new calendar, a fresh start and the opportunity to make positive changes, such as getting active or making family mealtime a priority. This year, the usual media coverage on fad diets and weight loss resolutions reminded me of the common misperceptions that continue to impact Americans' eating habits. But, the annual "New Year, New You" dialogue also offers a chance to clarify misinformation, dispel myths and better inform the public about nutrition and making healthy choices.
February happens to be Lactose Intolerance (LI) Awareness Month — an important opportunity to discuss this highly individualized condition that is so often misunderstood. Unfortunately, many Americans self-diagnose conditions such as lactose intolerance before consulting a doctor or registered dietitian, and avoid dairy foods, and their nutrient package and benefits, unnecessarily.
Research indicates avoiding dairy can result in a lower intake of essential nutrients, which are vital to good health. However, having lactose intolerance doesn’t have to mean giving up dairy. Different people can handle different amounts of lactose, and there’s a solution to meet most needs in the dairy group — from lactose-free milk to familiar dairy foods we have always known and loved that are typically easier to digest for people with lactose intolerance, such as yogurt and natural cheeses. The key is to find solutions that work best for each individual.
A customized approach to lactose intolerance is critical to helping Americans get the three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for ages 9 years and older. The dairy group — milk, cheese and yogurt — accounts for just 10 percent of the calories in the American diet, but contributes many essential nutrients that are important for good health, including protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. With many Americans overweight and many undernourished, dairy's powerhouse of nutrients delivers critical nutrition that can fit into a calorically balanced, total diet approach.
But dairy foods do much more than just deliver nutrients — they can play a vital role in a healthy lifestyle, contributing to nutrient intake and overall diet quality, as well as bone health, muscle health and the reduced risk of certain chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Whether preparing meals, packing school lunches or grabbing a snack on-the-go, dairy foods are not only a value, but also versatile, delicious and convenient options for a busy lifestyle. Read on in this issue for recipe ideas and to join the conversation on lactose intolerant-friendly cooking.
In good health,
Jean H. Ragalie, RD
National Dairy Council
Healthy Eating with Lactose Intolerance
Loving Dairy Again: Lactose Intolerance Tips
While lactose intolerance is a very individual condition, many people with lactose intolerance can still consume dairy foods in varying amounts or forms.
The tips below may help your patients and clients manage their lactose intolerance and still enjoy dairy, along with its unique nutrient package.
- Try It. Opt for lactose-free milk and milk products. They are real milk products, just without the lactose. They taste great and provide the same nutrients as regular dairy foods.
- Stir It. Mix milk with other foods, such as soups and cereal; blend with fruit or drink milk with meals. Solid foods help slow digestion and allow the body more time to digest lactose.
- Slice It. Top sandwiches or crackers with natural cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella and Swiss. These cheeses contain small amounts of lactose, so they are great options to try.
- Shred It. Shred your favorite natural cheese onto veggies, pastas and salads. It’s an easy way to get dairy that contains minimal amounts of lactose.
- Spoon It. Enjoy yogurt, which is easy to digest. The live and active cultures in yogurt help to digest lactose.
For more tips and resources, check out:
On the Menu: Cooking Up Lactose Intolerant-Friendly Dishes with Dairy
Dairy Council’s Turkey
Tetrazzini, Cheddar and
Parmesan Recipe (AllRecipes)
Ever hear someone say, I love milk, cheese and yogurt, but I can’t have them because I’m lactose intolerant? Actually, an estimated 30 to 50 million Americans identify as lactose intolerant and a common misconception is that lactose intolerance equals dairy avoidance. But some of the facts about lactose intolerance might surprise you, including how easy, delicious and important it is to incorporate the three daily servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as part of a healthy eating plan for those 9 years and older.
Incorporating dairy into everyday eating habits can be easy and enjoyable!
Check out more recipes on our hub at AllRecipes.com, also found under "Trusted Brands: Partner Recipes," and pinboards on National Dairy Council's Pinterest page for dishes that offer the great taste and nutritional benefits of milk, cheese and yogurt that are typically easier to digest for people with lactose intolerance.
In fact, you can impress family and friends at your next dinner party by whipping up our easy turkey dish (pictured above). Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses, which contain a small amount of lactose, make this dish a friendly option for guests with lactose intolerance.
Like what you see? We'd love to hear from you. Connect with us online to rate our recipes, swap cooking tips, share your pins and more.
Dairy: The Perfect Workout Partner
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Board Certified Specialist in
In planning my own workouts or working with star athletes as a sports dietitian, the goal is always to refuel after intense exercise. Investing time in the gym isn’t as effective if you don’t take time to recover with proper nutrition.
I recommend low-fat dairy foods for my athletes because they are great options to help satisfy muscle and bone nutrient needs. Providing protein, calcium and phosphorus, low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt can be perfect workout partners, even for those with lactose intolerance.
Low-fat or fat-free milk — including lactose-free milk — delivers a number of benefits. Milk provides nutrients that help refuel and recover after intense exercise, and is a good source of potassium, an electrolyte that is lost in sweat. With over 300 mg of potassium per serving, low-fat or fat-free milk is a great way to also help rehydrate after a workout. Additionally, dairy foods like low-fat milk and yogurt contain high quality protein that can support muscles for active individuals.
Reaching for a glass of low-fat milk, cup of yogurt or a serving of reduced-fat cheese post-workout are nutrient-rich and convenient ways to help refuel. Those with lactose intolerance can choose lactose-free milk or whey protein isolate powder, which contains less than one percent lactose. And, whey protein can be mixed with water and fruit to make a tasty post-workout, nutrient-rich smoothie.
So, if you are lactose intolerant and looking for the perfect workout partner, try these great lactose intolerant-friendly post-workout snacks:
- Fruit smoothie with 1 scoop whey protein isolate, 1 banana, ½ cup strawberries and 8 ounces water (freeze the banana for a thicker smoothie)
- 6 ounces low-fat vanilla Greek-style yogurt with 1 tablespoon honey and ½ cup chopped fruit
- 8 ounces low-fat chocolate milk or lactose-free chocolate milk
For more sports nutrition tips, follow me on Twitter at @amy_goodson_rd.
To your health,
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
Want to receive updates on the latest dairy research? Subscribe here to Dairy Research Insights, the Dairy Research Institute's monthly e-newsletter.
Get Involved with NDC
Calling All Cooks!
Have you entered National Dairy Council's Flavor Fusion Recipe Contest? Members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group are invited to show off their culinary skills and create an internationally-inspired dish with dairy that is also friendly to those with lactose intolerance. But entrants should hurry because the contest will end Friday, February 15. Participants have the chance to win a trip to an upcoming Food and Wine Festival or a cooking class with the Culinary Institute of America. Stay tuned for more information on the winner, whose recipe will be featured on National Dairy Council's Facebook and Twitter pages.
Join the Twitter Conversation
In celebration of Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month, National Dairy Council (@NtlDairyCouncil) is hosting a Twitter chat, and we want you to participate! Join Karen Kafer, RD, and Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, on Wednesday, February 20 at 2 pm CT to discuss health and wellness, favorite dairy cooking tips, a lactose intolerant lifestyle and more. Follow the #BeyondLI hashtag and we hope to see you there!
What’s Your LI IQ?
How much do you know about lactose intolerance? Check out Huffington Post Healthy Living this month to test your knowledge and separate fact from fiction. There, you’ll find two exclusive blog posts from National Dairy Council President Jean H. Ragalie, RD, and Dr. Jeanette Keith, Director of Gastroenterology and Bariatric Medicine at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, on the important role that dairy plays in a healthy lifestyle and the latest on lactose intolerance management, prevalence and proper diagnosis. Additionally, our interactive slideshow will answer frequently asked questions, and our infographic will show how the nutrient package of lactose-free milk stacks up to regular fat-free and low-fat milk. National Dairy Council will be featured in Huffington Post Healthy Living starting in mid-February.
Fuel Up to Play 60 News
Fuel Up to Play 60 Sends Two Outstanding Students to Super Bowl XLVII
From Left to Right: Matt Forte
(Running Back, Chicago Bears),
Kammi J., Stephanie K., Matt
Schaub (Quarterback, Houston
By fueling up their schools with oatmeal, two Fuel Up to Play 60 Super Bowl Breakfast Challenge winners received a trip to New Orleans and a fun-filled weekend ending in the ultimate prize: a seat at Super Bowl XLVII. Kammi J. from Whitehall Ealy Elementary School in Whitehall, Mich. and Stephanie K. from Hartnett Middle School in Blackstone, Mass. won the Challenge by submitting their creative and tasty ideas to provide their classmates with a nutritious start to the school day. Kammi and Stephanie also received tickets to the NFL Experience, where they ran practice drills and checked out autograph sessions with NFL players. To see all the action from the weekend and the big game, visit the Fuel Up to Play 60 Facebook page and the new Fuel Up to Play 60 Twitter page for updates and photos.
Fuel Up to Play 60 Challenge Puts Active Students in the Spotlight
Kicking off in March, Fuel Up to Play 60 will continue helping students discover how small bursts of movement throughout the day can easily add up to at least 60 minutes of play with a new physical activity-focused Challenge. The Activity Scavenger Hunt Challenge, which runs from March 4 to May 3, encourages students to collaborate with their friends, family and school faculty to get moving both indoors and outdoors. By completing easy and fun physical activities, such as doing jumping jacks or tossing the football around, students have a chance to win an NFL player visit to their P.E. class.
Encourage students you know to get a group of friends together, take pictures of themselves completing the suggested activities listed online, and upload them to the template provided on the Challenge page on FuelUpToPlay60.com by May 3. With your help, youth can learn how fun it is to play for at least 60 minutes a day while taking a great step toward forming lifelong healthy habits. Starting March 4, you can visit the Challenge page on FuelUpToPlay60.com for more information on the Activity Scavenger Hunt Challenge and how to get involved.
Improved nutrition, including daily breakfast, and increased physical activity may lead to improved academic performance. Spread the word about the Activity Scavenger Hunt Challenge so students can be at their best in the classroom, and stay tuned for more information in March about the learning connection — the link between improved nutrition, increased physical activity and academic performance.
Build a Healthier Plate with MyPlate
MyPlate encourages Americans to make smart food choices for a healthy lifestyle by building a plate to meet the recommended amounts of all food groups. By including low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt, making half your plate fruits and vegetables, making half your grains whole and choosing lean protein, you are on your way to building a healthier plate and meeting the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Click over to ChooseMyPlate.gov for more tips on how to eat the MyPlate way or follow @MyPlate on Twitter!
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