Lactose is a complex sugar, naturally present in milk.. Because some people digest it poorly, manufacturers have manufactured lactose-free milk. To obtain it, we take classic milk and add lactase.. It is a digestive enzyme. It is already present in our small intestine, but it is missing in some people. Lactase will break down lactose into two simple sugars, galactose and glucose. Lactose-free milk is, therefore, in a way, “pre-digested” milk.
Is this milk better for your health? No, he’s not better. The transformation it undergoes does not alter its nutritional values. Provides the same amounts of protein, calcium and vitamin D as classic milk. Its interest is to allow people with lactose intolerance to consume milk without problems. These people no longer produce or have enough lactase. This could affect between 4 and 10% of the French population.
Lactose intolerance causes different symptoms: bloating, flatulence, possibly transit disorders… As lactose is not digested in the small intestine by lactase, it will go to the colon and ferment, hence these problems. But as Dr. Jean-Michel Lecerf, nutritionist at the Pasteur Institute in Lille and author of 40 misconceptions about diet (Ed.Quae), “they can be of varying intensity, from mild discomfort to significant discomfort, depending on your degree of intolerance and the amount of milk you drink.. It’s not like an allergy.
Test your tolerance limit
Lactose intolerance is not an allergy. Therefore, it is not necessary to completely eliminate milk from your diet. “You may be lactose intolerant and tolerates classic milk in small quantities or when incorporated into certain preparations”, highlights the nutritionist. “There is a dose effect. Before drinking lactose-free milk, we can already test our tolerance threshold. And even if we digest milk, cream or cottage cheese poorly, we can tolerates yogurt very wellbecause lactic ferments digest lactose, and aged cheeses, such as Comté, Camembert, Blue. These cheeses, in fact, contain almost no lactose because it is eliminated during drainage,” he says.
Don’t trust fake tests
If you are not lactose intolerant, lactose-free milk has no advantages. Simply, we will spend more money because lactose-free milk is about 20% more expensive. There are fashions. We had “gluten-free”, today we are talking about “lactose-free” again. It also makes no sense to spend your money on food intolerance screening tests which are based on the blood level of certain antibodies (IgG). Although they can be performed in a laboratory without a prescription, they are often very expensive. This can vary between 30 and 500 euros depending on the number of foods tested. They are completely false. They never demonstrated their trustworthiness.