Dairy and Lactose Intolerance

Being lactose intolerant doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up your favorite dairy foods and the health benefits that come with them.

Lactose is the sugar naturally found in milk and in certain dairy products. In order to digest lactose, the body needs lactase, an enzyme that is made by the body. Some people do not make enough lactase to break down lactose (milk sugar), so they may experience physical symptoms when consuming foods that contain lactose. This is often referred to as lactose intolerance. 

Different people can handle different amounts of lactose, and there’s a solution to meet most needs in the dairy aisle – from lactose-free milk to dairy foods that are typically easier to digest. Many health authorities agree that milk and other dairy foods are an important and practical source of key nutrients, for all people – including those who are lactose intolerant.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans note that individuals with lactose intolerance can select lactose-free or reduced-lactose dairy foods to meet dairy recommendations.

Explore our lactose intolerance resources below. 
  • What is Lactose Intolerance?

    Get the scoop in this blog post, plus a lactose Intolerance-friendly ice cream cake recipe.

    Learn More & Get Recipe
  • Lactose Intolerance vs. Dairy Allergy: What's the Difference?

    These conditions are different and it's important to know the differences.

    Learn More
  • Know the Facts About Lactose Intolerance

    This resource provides facts and tips so you can enjoy dairy even if you're lactose intolerant.

    View & Download Resource
  • NIH Consensus Development Conference: Lactose Intolerance & Health
    View NIH Consensus Statement
  • Science Summary: Dairy Innovations & Lactose Intolerance

    LI does not have to be a barrier to adequate dairy intake.

    View & Download Summary
  • Recipe Booklet: Lactose Intolerance-Friendly Recipes

    A booklet of nutritious and delicious lactose intolerance-friendly recipes that include real dairy.

    View & Download

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