Lactose intolerance is a phenomenon when someone has difficulty digesting lactose when they eat dairy products such as milk. For normal people who eat foods containing lactose, the enzyme lactase is responsible to breaks it down into simple sugars and then absorb into the bloodstream which converts to simple sugars and finally turned into energy. However, people with lactose intolerance do not produce enough lactase, a type of enzyme in the digestive system that breaks down lactose, and hence produce symptoms such as bloating, burping, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Lactose intolerance is common among adults and children are less likely to have it but it may worry the parents because they may not get sufficient nutrients which is crucial for the growth if their kids suffer from lactose intolerance. Healthy eating may influence the condition of your child with lactose intolerance. Parents should learn how to create a meal plan for their children so they may get the utmost benefits for their development.
Factors that cause lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerance is uncommon in babies. However, they may show symptoms such as strange behavior, cranky, difficulty gaining weight or latching, developing rashes and irritations which may indicate the sign of lactose intolerance. Some of the conditions of children with lactose intolerance are temporary while some of them may be permanent. . Take proper medication There are three main causes of lactose intolerance as follows:
- Hypolactasia is a condition of lactase deficiency. It is the most common happens to many people including children. The lactose cannot pass through the wall of the intestine into the bloodstream instead pass through the colon. The bacteria inside the colon metabolize the lactose and resulting in fermentation and producing gases such as hydrogen that cause abdominal pain.
- Also known as congenital lactase deficiency is an extremely rare condition that happens when the child cannot digest lactose since birth. Most of the babies born with this condition cannot survive.
Secondary lactose intolerance
- It is a temporary condition of lactose intolerance that happens when the digestive system is infected with a disease such as gastroenterisis or coeliac disease. The symptoms will disappear when it is addressed with proper treatment.
Low lactose diet in children
Low lactose consumption usually does not cause any harm to your child with lactose intolerance. However, high lactose products may produce symptoms. Therefore, it is important to bring your children to the doctor so they can govern their conditions. If your child is suspected of lactose intolerance, it is recommended to choose a low lactose diet and avoid products with high lactose content such as full cream milk, skim milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. You may choose low lactose products such as the following:
- Choose low-fat milk that may be well tolerated by the stomach. Sometimes low-fat milk can help to neutralize the acidity in the stomach if it is consumed in moderation.
- Cheese such as cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese has a low lactose content and can be the best substitute for heavy cheese.
- Soy milk and oat milk are the best replacements for dairy milk. The milk is also fortified with various vitamins and minerals which are needed for your child’s development. Oat milk is free from saturated fats while soy milk is high in proteins which are important for the regulation of tissues and organs.
- Choose low lactose yogurt and cream that can be easily found on the market.
- Calcium is an important source of bone growth. According to experts, young children need approximately 1300 grams of calcium each day for optimal growth. You may include non-dairy foods to meet the calcium requirements as an alternative such as almonds, beans, salmon, dried fruits, and green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, and turnip greens.