Lactose intolerance is a condition where people have difficulty digesting lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. This can cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea – usually beginning within 30 minutes to 2 hours of consuming milk or dairy products.
Lactose intolerance can be caused by a deficiency of lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, which can be due to genetics or aging. If you suspect you have lactose intolerance, it’s important to talk to your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for lactose intolerance involves avoiding or limiting milk products and maintaining a lactose-free diet.
There is no cure for lactose intolerance, but it can be managed with dietary changes and supplements, including Lactaid, which helps the body break down the sugar found in milk products (lactose).
Lactose Intolerance in Lebanon and the Region
The Lebanese population has a considerably high percentage of lactose intolerance: Between 69% and 87% prevalence (78% on average) – according to a 2017 study by Storhaug, et al.
In the MENA region, Yemen (100%), Oman (96%) and Syria (95%) have the highest rates of intolerance, while Saudi Arabia scored the lowest (28%).
Celiac Disease and Dairy
According to this article by Beyond Celiac, “lactose intolerance is often a symptom of celiac disease. It usually resolves itself after following a strict gluten-free diet.”
Is Milk Gluten Free?
Plain cow’s milk is gluten free. Just make sure the milk you’re about to consume does not have gluten-containing flavors or other ingredients.