When we talk about all the delicious and yummy things that are made out of milk, what are some of the most popular and maybe, your favorite things that you can list? 

So, let us get into the essence of the topic and discover what we need to keep our lactose intolerant selves at bay! 

What Does It Mean to Be Lactose Intolerant?

lactose free diet

If you have been diagnosed as lactose intolerant. Or know someone close to you who is suffering from this condition, do not worry. It is not some contagious or lethal disease that will kill you. If anything, it is considered a very normal and common condition that some people live with throughout their lives. 

In lactose intolerant people, the body cannot break down the ‘lactose’. Into simpler, smaller molecules of ‘glucose.’ Now, this breakdown process is a normal and expected one. [1]

For all those who do not know, Lactose is a type of sugar. However, unlike the sickly sweet sugar, we all crave (guilty as charged!). This sugar is mainly found in milk and milk products. Sometimes, it may also be found in different types of bread that we consume. So a strict check over the ingredients list is always necessary! 


A particular enzyme called ‘lactase’ is present in our bodies that helps break this complex molecule into smaller glucose molecules to ease their digestion and then absorption inside our bodies. However, people who lack the lactase enzymes are called lactose intolerant individuals. [2]

Think of it like this – when we take a bite of our food, it gets chewed down into smaller pieces before it goes down into the stomach, right? Unfortunately, in the case of lactose – which is the major component of dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, etc., when the body of lactose-intolerant individuals takes it up, it is unable to get broken down into its constituent molecules of glucose, and this is when things become a bit problematic for the people suffering from this condition. 

Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder characterized by bloating, diarrhea, and gas after consuming lactose-containing foods or beverages. It is a naturally occurring sugar found in milk and milk-based cheese and ice cream products.

Lactose Malabsorption

Lactose malabsorption is the cause of lactose intolerance’s digestive symptoms. Moreover, Lactose malabsorption is when your small intestine cannot digest or break down all of the lactose you consume. When lactose is consumed, not everyone who has lactose malabsorption experiences digestive symptoms. Lactose intolerance is only seen in people who have symptoms.

They may develop bloating, diarrhea, and gas issues soon after consuming products that include even a little bit of lactose in them. [3] This is quite disappointing for such people, for this ultimately rules them down to completely avoiding lactose-containing foods and drinks, which nobody wants to let go of!  

What is a Lactose-free Diet?

lactose free diet

Fortunately, with every problem comes solutions too. Therefore, for people dealing with lactose intolerance, no matter how severe or intense their lactose intolerance seems to be, just hang in there! 

With a lactose-free diet, you will enjoy a fright-free and problem-free life at your convenience. Now, how great could that be? 

A lactose-free diet will assure you that you are steering clear of all such products that might contain as much as a hint of full-blown quantities of lactose in them. Better safe than sorry, no? 

There will be no restrictions upon you to avoid these food items, and you can have them as normally as possible! Amazing, right? 

What Foods to Avoid If You Are Lactose Intolerant? 

lactose free diet

Before heading towards learning more about the lactose-free diet plan, it is fair if we learn what foods contain lactose, so it ultimately becomes easier for us to avoid them in the future. [4]

Here is a list of all such popular food items that contain varying amounts of lactose in them: 

  • Milk
  • Icecreams
  • Cream
  • Milk chocolate
  • Cottage cheese
  • Puddings
  • Smoothies
  • Hot cocoa
  • Mac and cheese
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Butter

But, this does not end here. It is best if people avoid food items containing lactose-related food products. These related components include lactalbumin, lactylate, and some calcium products. [5]

However, it would be best if you always remembered that no matter how much lactose a given product contains, your body will always react to it differently. It is not necessary that just because one person with lactose intolerance develops mild symptoms after consuming lactose-containing products, then so will you. No, it does not work like that. 

Everybody has a different tolerance level, and the severity of the deficiency varies accordingly. This is why every lactose intolerant person develops different symptoms throughout such times in their lives. [6]

Many people with lactose intolerance can tolerate certain dairy products because they have a low lactose content.

Butter, for example, contains only trace amounts of lactose and is unlikely to cause symptoms in those with lactose intolerance unless consumed in large quantities. Clarified butter, in particular, contains almost no lactose.

Meanwhile, some types of yogurt contain beneficial bacteria that help with lactose digestion.

Kefir, skyr, aged or hard cheeses, and heavy cream are examples of dairy products with low lactose content.

What Can You Eat on a Lactose-Free Diet?

lactose free diet

Now, here comes the interesting part! We will focus on this part the most because this is what concerns you and your health like nothing else. 

Some lactose-intolerant people might not always be aware of the ‘traces’ of lactose that some food items may contain. So, they, unfortunately, end up developing symptoms that indicate that they have made a mistake and unintentionally consumed lactose! 

Therefore, to help all such unaware and aware people regarding what foods they can safely consume while being lactose intolerant, the following guide will undoubtedly serve as a great help! 

So, let us find out what these lactose-free food and drink items are that could help us live a scare-free life: 


Well, yes! Fruits are always welcomed in every type of diet. For lactose-intolerant people, there is no such restriction as well. They can conveniently eat all the fruits that they want to eat. 

This is very simple – despite being sweet, fruits contain a different type of sugar called ‘fructose.’ It is obviously different from lactose and other types of natural sugars, so you do not need to worry when consuming any and every kind of fruit freely. [7]

Coconut-Based Yogurt And Cheese

For all the people who love cheese and yogurt and just cannot seem to let go of it – even if it means having to take an extra dose of their lactose supplements – why not go a step ahead and try something different?

Coconut-based yogurt and cheese are just the beginning of something new. These coconut-based foods are healthy and completely safe for consumption by lactose-intolerant people. These products are manufactured using coconut milk and some probiotic bacteria, which helps get the yogurt and cheese-like consistency for both of these products. [8]

Moreover, coconut-based food products are creamy, thick, and extremely delicious. So, why not try out something that sounds delectable and appears to be equally delicious as well? 

Almond, Rice, And Soy Milk 

The variants mentioned above are simpler alternatives for good, old dairy-produced milk. 

These variants of milk are completely free from lactose and the likes of it, and so, even though they taste a bit different, you do not need to worry about them exaggerating or flaring up your condition at all!


If you are not on a strict vegetables-only diet, you can enjoy the perks of all types of meat. Since red and white – both types of meat are free from any traces of lactose; you can freely enjoy them all you want. 

Meat is enriched with protein, so you should also stock your bodies up with it.

Conclusion – Living On A Lactose-Free Diet! 

Since everything comes with its perks, the lactose-free diet benefits your body in ways that you cannot fully understand. 

Most importantly, it makes sure that your body stays free from all the harmful ‘lactose’ content that could end up deteriorating your health, and if not anything, then surely the fact that it makes you opt for healthier and better alternatives is something that should be highly regarded. 

However, it is better to start practicing a gluten and lactose-free diet. This is because sometimes, the bread that we consume often contains small amounts of lactose or its constituent elements, so it can do more harm than good at times. 

At the end of the day, a lactose and wheat-free diet is indeed going to help you greatly on your journey of lactose intolerance without making you feel out of place at all! 

It is all up to you to embark on this journey with sheer dedication and consistency to strive for a better health status! 

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Malik, T. F., & Panuganti, K. K. (2022). Lactose Intolerance. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
  • Deng, Y., Misselwitz, B., Dai, N., & Fox, M. (2015). Lactose Intolerance in Adults: Biological Mechanism and Dietary Management. Nutrients7(9), 8020–8035. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7095380
  • Swagerty, D. L., Jr, Walling, A. D., & Klein, R. M. (2002). Lactose intolerance. American family physician65(9), 1845–1850.
  • Szilagyi, A., & Ishayek, N. (2018). Lactose Intolerance, Dairy Avoidance, and Treatment Options. Nutrients10(12), 1994. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121994
  • Misselwitz, B., Butter, M., Verbeke, K., & Fox, M. R. (2019). Update on lactose malabsorption and intolerance: pathogenesis, diagnosis and clinical management. Gut68(11), 2080–2091. https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318404
  • Sievenpiper, J. L., de Souza, R. J., & Jenkins, D. J. (2012). Sugar: fruit fructose is still healthy. Nature482(7386), 470. https://doi.org/10.1038/482470e
  • Montemurro, M., Pontonio, E., Coda, R., & Rizzello, C. G. (2021). Plant-Based Alternatives to Yogurt: State-of-the-Art and Perspectives of New Biotechnological Challenges. Foods (Basel, Switzerland)10(2), 316. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020316


  • Dr Andleeb Asghar, Pharm.D

    Dr Andleeb is a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) graduate with real-life experience working in health and wellness-related companies. She has also published various research papers in the health and medical field. Currently, she takes joy in creating health-related content for a wide range of audiences, which is a craft she has been perfecting for over five years. She enjoys diving deep into published research papers and journal articles to source helpful content for her readers. LinkedIn


Dr Andleeb is a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) graduate with real-life experience working in health and wellness-related companies. She has also published various research papers in the health and medical field. Currently, she takes joy in creating health-related content for a wide range of audiences, which is a craft she has been perfecting for over five years. She enjoys diving deep into published research papers and journal articles to source helpful content for her readers. LinkedIn