Lactose Intolerance Causes, Treatment & Diet Plan
Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht Updated on May 27, 2020
Does your child complain of discomfort in her stomach after she drinks milk? Are you inclined to think that she is making up an excuse to avoid milk? He/she may actually be intolerant to milk and milk products. Understanding lactose intolerance is the first step towards dealing with it. It is quite common that a child complains of abdominal discomfort after having milk. The discomfort could be in the form of diarrhea, distention, cramps or pain in the stomach. Your child may also complain of nausea or a ‘bloated’ feeling. In most cases, lactose intolerance is determined as the cause of such discomfort.
Here’s what you need to know – lactose intolerance may vary from mild to severe and accordingly, so will the diet. Our nutrition expert Puja Sharma Vasisht shares the must-knows...
What Causes Lactose Intolerance?
Children with lactose intolerance lack the enzyme lactase which is required to digest the lactose sugar present in milk. The problem could be gene-related or there could be other reasons too, such as infection in the gut, the aftermath of surgery and so on. [Know more: What Are Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance in Children?]
What to Do When Child Complains?
When your child complains of diarrhea, stomach cramps or even distention, consult your pediatrician without delay. Your pediatrician will ask you to run some diagnostic tests that will reveal the level and functionality of the lactase enzyme in your child. Depending on the level of activity, a customized diet chart will be prepared for your child. In case your child has been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, it is better to consult your pediatrician first and follow it up with a visit to a nutritionist.
How to Select the Diet Plan for Lactose Intolerant Child?
Here’s a critical fact i.e. A low level of lactase activity would mean a more severe case of lactose intolerance and vice versa. Here is a peep into the diet plans of children with moderate to severe lactose intolerance:
Moderate Level of Lactase Activity or Moderate Lactose Intolerance
A child with moderated lactose intolerance is able to digest or tolerate the below-mentioned food items, so you may include the same in your child’s diet:
- Fermented and cooked milk products will be better tolerated. So opt for buttermilk, curds, custard, kheer, porridge and other such.
- Children with moderate lactose intolerance may tolerate small amounts of milk especially if taken with other foods, for instance at bedtime (after dinner) or in the evening (after a wholesome snack). Make sure to give a small quantity (40-50 ml) at one go (3-4 times a day) instead of one whole cup/glass at a time.
- Curd is a better option than milk.
- Commercial low-lactose foods, such as cottage cheese, ice cream are generally digested without causing any discomfort.
Low Level of Lactase Activity or Severe Lactose Intolerance
Low level of lactase activity or severe lactose intolerance signifies that your child is neither able to tolerate milk nor is able to tolerate any milk-based products. For severe lactose intolerance, here is what you need to do:
- All milk products should be eliminated from the diet.
- Use substitutes of milk like soy milk, almond or coconut milk; replace paneer with tofu.
- Consult your doctor on the enzymes available (at chemist stores) that reduce symptoms of intolerance.
- Non-diary sources of calcium must be supplemented in the diet. Choose calcium-rich food or recipes like ragi, dark leafy greens like broccoli, sesame seeds, almonds, and figs.
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| Jun 14, 2017
my 14 month old boy is lactose intolerant after 6 months age. Now he is digesting curd. I Want to clear is this problem goes after 3,4 years of age or a lifetime problem. He is eating every thing except milk,milk creame ,butter,but seems weak his weight 9. 3kg. w did all test liver,cbc ,hb nd wheat allregy all r normal. i m worried for his health plz give suggestions