Some conditions require that you eat a lactose-free bland diet. Lactose is a sugar found in milk that causes digestive complications for some people. If you’ve been diagnosed with a digestive disorder or an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease, eating a lactose-free bland diet may help prevent and treat your symptoms. If you eliminate all dairy from your diet, talk with your doctor about finding ways to increase your daily calcium and vitamin D intake.
Lactose is found in all types of milk, such as goat’s milk, cow’s milk and breast milk. If you have trouble digesting lactose it’s because your small intestines are lacking the lactase enzyme. Lactase helps break lactose down into glucose and galactose so it can be absorbed into your body. If you’re lactose intolerant, consuming lactose can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas and bloating. There is no cure for lactose intolerance but you can manage your symptoms by avoiding the consumption of dairy products.
Some foods are naturally lactose-free, such as fresh meat, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, breads, cereal and grains. Some dairy products contain less lactose than other dairy products, such as aged cheeses and yoghurt, because the enzymes in these products convert lactose into lactic acid. If you’ve been prescribed a lactose-free diet, only buy dairy products that are labeled “lactose-free.” You may be able to consume dairy products if you take a lactase enzyme before ingesting the milk. Talk with your doctor before using this medication.
A lactose-free bland diet not only requires that you eat foods that are lactose-free but also bland in nature. This type of diet is commonly recommended if you’ve been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease. A bland diet requires that you eat foods that are bland in nature without adding any spices, condiments or seasoning to them. Bland foods that are lactose-free include potatoes, white bread, white rice, carrots and bananas. Your dietitian will work with you to ensure you’re receiving all the needed nutrients.
You can use milk substitutes that don’t contain any added flavour or sugar, such as rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk. These milk alternatives are made from a grain or other plant base, water and a thickening agent that can be substituted for regular milk. Many of these substitutes are fortified with calcium and vitamin D.