Foods with hidden lactose


Foods with hidden lactose

Isn’t it interesting what we put off when it comes to our health? It’s almost become an inside joke that Googling health symptoms often leads to overblown conclusions. The same reluctance applies to visiting the doctor. Long wait times and the difficulty of taking time off work are deterrents. Plus, sometimes, we don’t want to face potentially bad news. In fact, two-thirds of Brits delay doctor visits due to fear of receiving bad news. Instead, they try self-soothing with home remedies or embark on elimination diets based on guesswork.

Lactose intolerance is often self-managed without a proper diagnosis and plan. The challenge is that avoiding lactose is more complex than just steering clear of traditional dairy products. Lesser-known sources of lactose can inadvertently sneak into the diet, undermining these efforts.

The health concerns of sneaky lactose

Persistently consuming lactose when you’re intolerant can worsen symptoms and negatively impact your well-being. Severe diarrhoea can lead to significant health problems, including nutritional deficiencies, unintended weight loss, and even anaemia.

These symptoms can also cause dehydration. In severe cases, acute kidney injury is due to insufficient fluid absorption. Moreover, relying solely on dairy products for calcium intake can be risky for those with lactose intolerance. Calcium is crucial for healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis, so it’s vital to include alternative calcium sources, such as calcium-rich plant-based foods and fortified products, in your diet.


Hidden lactose

If you’re actively avoiding lactose, here are some foods with hidden lactose to watch out for:

  • Bread and baked goods: Many store-bought breads, pastries, and baked goods contain milk powder, whey, or butter, adding lactose to these products.
  • Cereal: Many brands coat their breakfast cereals with milk or contain milk-based additives.
  • Processed meats: Deli slices, sausages, and hot dogs may contain lactose as a binder or flavour enhancer.
  • Soup: Tomato- or vegetable-based instant soups and mixes can have milk powder or cream for thickening or flavour.
  • Crisps: Flavoured crisps and similar snacks often use milk or cheese powder for seasoning.
  • Cooking kits and seasoning sachets: With the rise of convenient cooking solutions, many ready-to-use kits and sachets contain milk. For instance, the Maggi So Juicy range’s Sweet and Sticky BBQ mix includes milk.
  • Medications and supplements: Some prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as dietary supplements, may use lactose as a filler or binding agent. With a diagnosis, your doctor knows to prescribe medication suitable for you. Without it, it’s challenging to know whether or not your medications and supplements are lactose-free.

Do you suspect you’re lactose intolerant? 

Navigating a lactose-free diet can be tricky. Especially due to lactose’s unexpected presence in various foods. Being vigilant about reading labels and understanding ingredients is key. But there’s more to it. Lactose intolerance needn’t be daunting, but it can lead to underlying health issues if undetected. To be safe, getting an allergy test is a wise step for definitive answers.

If you’re nervous about having a test for suspected lactose intolerance, rest assured you’re in safe hands. Reacting adversely to lactose isn’t something you need to face by yourself. Register as a new patient today, and let’s start the process of helping you feel better. You have the option to visit our London-based allergy clinic for a comprehensive evaluation by our specialists or take advantage of our home allergy test.


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