A young boy of 4 years came to my clinic with the symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting after consuming dairy products. His symptoms confirmed him to be suffering from Lactose Intolerance.
Therefore, I had to prescribe him a milk-free diet. Suddenly his parents got anxious, “Kya? Doodh nahi piyega? Phir kaise kaam chalega?” (If he won’t drink milk, how will he survive)
Can you relate to this reaction?
Milk is a “Powerhouse”. You can’t imagine a child’s life without this potion, right?
So, what will you do?
Ignore the doctor’s advice and follow these Chinese whispers:
- Drink only 250 ml of milk a day. It will not lead to the symptoms.
- Eat the dairy products and not drink. It will have no ill-effects on the child.
If you believe in these myths, I have something crazy for you!
Lactose Intolerance has captured most of the kids worldwide. In a study led by Dr Uday C Ghoshal, a large population of milk mal-absorbers were found in Indians than their European or American counterparts
Thus, you can’t afford to take lactose intolerance lightly, nor can you ignore the doctor’s advice.
To make things clear, let me first tell you what lactose intolerance is.
WHAT IS LACTOSE INTOLERANCE?
It is an inability of the body to digest the sugar known as Lactose present in the dairy products. When undigested it irritates the gut flora and produces these symptoms:
- Bloating of the stomach with excess burping
- Stomach pains
- Nausea/constant inclination to vomit
- Diarrhoea: severe cases can lead to dehydration
- Infants vomit out the milk as curd.
Symptoms can range from a mild discomfort to a severe reaction, depending upon how much lactase (an enzyme to digest milk) the child produces and how much dairy he consumes. The doctor gives medicines for the symptoms and advises you to stay clear of the milk and its related products.
HOW TO MANAGE LACTOSE INTOLERANCE?
So now, an important question must be running in your mind!
“Doodh nahi de sakte……. Phir?? (What to do if you can’t give milk?) Milk is an integral part of a child’s nutrition. How can we leave it?”
So, here’s the deal:
The answer to this million dollar question is the substitution. Milk is rich in nutrients like Calcium, Vitamin A, proteins, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.
If you cut out on dairy products, it will probably lead to malnutrition. But, if you replace the dairy products with foods of similar nutritional content, you give your child his daily nutritional need.
Today, I will tell you about the best alternatives to dairy products for your lactose intolerant child:
- Vitamin A: All kinds of yellow and red coloured fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, melon, apricot, papaya, mango, and peas. Eggs, broccoli, and cod liver oil are also rich in Vitamin A
- Calcium: It is one of the most important nutrients in milk and can be got through nuts and seeds, beans, oranges, figs, quinoa, amaranth (chaulai), okra, broccoli, kale, and fortified juices
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 occurs in all animal products like beef, pork, ham, poultry, eggs, lamb and fish. (Vegetarians, click here)
- Vitamin D can be given by exposure to natural sunlight and consuming fatty fish, eggs, fish liver oils, and some fortified juices.
- Proteins: Milk and milk products are not the only sources of proteins. You can give enough proteins to your child through soya, pulses, eggs, almonds, oats, broccoli, and lean beef
In addition, these milk substitutes are now easily available in the market:
- Zero Lactose Milk
- Lactase added Milk
- Soy milk containing necessary proteins
- Almond milk containing Vitamins and antioxidants
- Skimmed Coconut Milk
I know you cannot imagine your child’s life without milk. But, it is more important that the nutrients reach him/her in either and safe way.Therefore, you must broaden your mindset to fight disorders like lactose intolerance.
Seeing the ill-effects a dairy product can have on your lactose intolerant child, it becomes extremely important to find the food products with lactose.
When you buy processed foods, always check the food label for “hidden lactose” or “may contain milk”. Milk, cheese, curd, dry milk powders, whey, butter, etc. are all lactose-rich foods. Consequently, you must avoid them if your child is lactose intolerant.
Plus, consult your doctor before you make any sudden changes in your child’s diet.
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