Lactose intolerance is often confused with dairy intolerance. While dairy products do indeed contain lactose, not every food with lactose is a dairy product. This condition is defined by the inability of an individual to be able to digest lactose, which is a kind of sugar found prominently within milk. When someone with a lactose intolerance consumes milk, or any source of lactose, it can cause stomach problems and a host of allergic reactions.
Lactose intolerance has an interesting basis in genetics, with as little as 5% of Northern Europeans being lactose intolerant, and up to 90% of Asians and Africans in some countries being lactose intolerant.
No matter your background, if you are lactose intolerant, it’s important to learn more about the condition and the foods you can’t eat. You may innocently consume foods that you think are lactose-free, but are actually a source of this natural sugar. So, be sure to take a look at these 11 foods to avoid if you’re lactose intolerant.
1. Some medications
So this is obviously not a food, but it’s still something you might consume. There are lots of medications out there, whether prescription or over the counter, that actually contain lactose. One common medication that contains lactose is the birth control pill, along with some digestion medicines and even vitamin D supplement tablets.
The lactose is not used because it has some kind of health benefits, but more as a filler or a base for the tablet. The substance gives a quick-dissolving tablets their sweet taste, and it adds bulk so that the pill isn’t too small.
If you are lactose intolerant or have celiac disease, you should talk to your doctor before taking any medications. Your doctor will prescribe you medication that does not contain lactose if he or she knows you are lactose intolerant, but if you’re buying over the counter, then you should check the ingredients or speak to your doctor first.