Lactose-Free/Low Lactose Diet

Keeping you healthy is our main aim here at The GI Center. As your physicians, it is our aim to provide the best guidance of diet as well as medicine. In doing so, also please remember that it is not possible to mention each and every food component that is available in this world. Our instructions are designed to serve as guidance only. If you have any specific question regarding anything not fully addressed here, please call your physician.

Purpose: This diet plan will help prevent bloating, gas, cramps, and diarrhea caused by milk and milk products. The substance lactose, which is a type of sugar found in milk, causes these problems in patients who cannot digest milk. This condition is called “lactose intolerance”. People who cannot digest lactose do not make enough of the enzyme lactase. If your body makes some lactase, you may be able to eat small amounts of foods containing lactose. By trying small amounts of the foods with lactose, you will learn how much you can tolerate. The amount of lactose each person can handle is different. Some may tolerate a low lactose diet, while others will need a strict lactose free diet. You can buy lactase enzyme tablets such as Lactaid from the drug store to help your body digest dairy products. Chew or swallow 1 to 6 tablets when starting to eat foods containing lactose.


Food Group Foods Allowed Foods to Avoid
Beverages Soy milk fortified with calcium & vitamin D Milk; whole, low fat, skim, buttermilk, chocolate, condensed, evaporated, dried
Lactose-reduced milk such as Lactaid, if tolerated Cream
Lactose-free beverages such as soy, nondairy cream Eggnog, malted milk, Ovaltine
Cocoa prepared with soy milk or nondairy cream “Instant” breakfast beverages
Carbonated beverages, coffee, tea Milk shakes and cocoa prepared with milk or milk products
Meats & Meat Substitutes Plain meat, poultry, fish and shellfish Meat, poultry, fish and shellfish prepared with milk or milk products such as white sauce or cheese sauce
Dry beans and peas Luncheon meats, sausage and hot dogs that contain lactose or milk filler
Peanut butter Cream cheese, cottage cheese
Soybean and textured vegetable protein, tofu Mozzarella, ricotta
Kosher hot dogs Processed cheese, cheese spreads
Yogurt with active cultures Eggs prepared with milk or milk products
Hard and fermented cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, gouda, edam and parmesan
Eggs prepared without milk or milk Products
Vegetables Canned, fresh or frozen vegetables without sauces Any prepared with milk or milk products such as cream sauce or cheese sauce
All vegetable juices Any with lactose added in processing
Fruits & Fruit Juices All are lactose-free
Grains & Starches White potato, sweet potato, pasta and rice, prepared without milk or milk products Mashed or escalloped potatoes or any other potato substitute prepared with milk or milk products
Breads and rollls prepared without milk products Instant potatoes if milk or lactose is added
Crackers, melba toast, pretzels, matzos, rye wafers Breads or rolls prepared with milk or milk products
Pancakes, waffles, biscuits
Muffins, donuts, sweet rolls
Prepared mixes
Soups Broth, bouillon and consomme soups prepared with allowed foods Cream soups or any other soup prepared with milk or milk products
Cream soups made with nondairy cream or soy milks
Desserts Sugar, honey, jams, jellies Chocolate, cream-filled and caramel candies
Molasses, syrup Frostings prepared with milk or milk products
Marshmallows, hard candies, gumdrops, jellybeans, pure sugar candies Sherbet, ice cream
Carob powder, baking chocolate Custards, puddings
Gelatin, angel food cake, fruit pies, fruit ice Cream pies, cheesecake
Homemake cakes and cookies prepared without milk or milk products Commercial cookies, desserts and mixes
Any desserts prepared with milk or milk products
Miscellaneous Cereals prepared without milk or milk products Cereals prepared with milk or milk products
Milk-free margarine; oil; mayonnaise Cream, whipped cream, sour cream
Salad dressing prepared without milk, cream or cheese Creamy salad dressing or salad dressing made with cheese or butter
Herbs, spices, seasonings, extracts Sauces, gravies or snack “dips” prepared with milk or milk products
Vinegar, catsup, mustard, pickles, relish Sugar substitutes made with lactose
Popcorn Foods containing the fat substitute Simplesse
Sauces or gravies prepared from allowed foods Sugar substitutes made with lactose (Equal)


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