Lactose Diet

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All milk products contain lactose (or milk sugar). Your doctor or registered dietitian may recommend a low-lactose diet after radiation therapy to the intestines, which often makes lactose hard to digest for a time. Fermented milk products, such as buttermilk, acidophilus milk, sour cream, and yogurt, usually are easier to handle than whole milk. You also can buy low-lactose milk or use liquid drops or caplets that help break down the lactose in milk and other dairy products. Lactose is often used as a filler in many products such as instant coffee and some medicines. Carefully read labels on commercial foods to see if they contain lactose or any milk products or milk solids.
Lactose tolerance varies from person to person. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian about choosing allowed foods and about low-lactose dairy products that you can buy at the grocery store.
LOW-LACTOSE DIET
Type of Food
Allowed Items
Excluded Items
Beverages
Water, lactose-free carbonated beverages, fruit-flavored drinks, fruit punches, lemonade, limeade, nondairy product drinks, low-lactose milk, acidophilus milk, coffee, and tea*
Artificial fruit drinks containing lactose, all beverages and nutritional supplements made with milk and milk products with the exception of buttermilk, low-lactose milk, and yogurt**
Bread
Any cooked or dry cereal not containing lactose
Instant hot cereals, high-protein cereals, all cereals with added milk or lactose
Flours
All
None
Cheeses
Fermented cheeses (cheddar and any cheese aged with bacteria)
All others
Desserts
Fruit ices; gelatins; angel food cake; desserts made with nondairy products, buttermilk, or sour cream
Ice cream, puddings, and other desserts containing milk or milk products
Eggs
All except raw eggs and eggs prepared with milk or milk products
Creamed, scrambled, omelets, or other eggs prepared with milk; raw eggs
Fats
Margarine not containing milk solids, vegetable oils, mayonnaise, shortening
All others: cream, half-and-half, unbuttered popcorn
Chocolate, cocoa, milk gravies, cream sauces, chewing gum, instant coffee, powdered soft drinks, artificial juices containing milk or lactose
LOW-LACTOSE DIET: SUGGESTED MEAL PLAN
Breakfast
½ cup fruit juice
1 serving cereal
1 slice toast
1 tsp margarine
jelly
1 cup acidophilus or low-lactose milk
sugar
salt and pepper
beverage
Snack
Crackers
2 tbsp peanut butter
jelly or honey
Lunch
3 oz meat or substitute
½ cup vegetable and/or salad
2 slices bread or roll
2 tsp margarine*
1 serving fruit
salt and pepper
beverage
Snack
Broth-based soup
1 slice bread or roll
1 tsp margarine*
Dinner
1 serving salad
3 oz meat or substitute
½ cup rice
½ cup vegetable
1 serving fruit or dessert
1 cup acidophilus or low-lactose milk
salt and pepper
Snack
½ cup juice
popcorn or pretzels

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