Hyderabad: Sixty to seventy per cent of people in India are lactose- intolerant and there are only 18 per cent of people who can digest milk without complaints.
Milk intolerance is the inability of the person to digest milk sugars called lactose. Lactose in the body is broken down into simple sugars with the help of enzyme called lactase. Dr S.S. Shanker, general physician explained, “Intolerance is due to low levels of lactase in the body due to congenital reasons, natural decline in the body and enzymes due to aging or secondary reasons like faulty eating habits, stress and anxiety.”
Milk intolerance can be mild or severe and the symptoms usually begin 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking milk or milk products. The symptoms are bloating, pain or cramps in the lower belly, gurgling or rumbling sounds in the lower belly, gas, vomiting or loose or foamy stools.
Dr P. Shiv Kumar, general physician, explained, “If the symptoms are found to recur with plain milk, then the patient is recommended to opt for milk products like curd, yogurt or buttermilk but only twice or thrice in a week. There are some people who can’t have milk but their body is comfortable with curd and hence they are asked to have more of the dairy product which their body digests than those which it can’t.”