Are You Lactose Intolerant?

News Note

By Lara Evans Bracciante

Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, June/July 2003.

Do you often feel a little bloated, queasy or gassy after meals? You may be one of the estimated 30–50 million Americans who can’t stomach lactose-containing dairy products, a condition caused by a lactase-enzyme deficiency. This syndrome is especially prevalent in certain ethnic populations, affecting 75 percent of both African Americans and American Indians, and 90 percent of Asian Americans. While the problem can be uncomfortable and even distressing, it’s not debilitating. Of greatest concern is making sure adequate amounts of bone-building calcium are consumed. The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 mg of calcium daily for people ages 19–50. Those over 50 need 1,200 mg daily, and kids 9–13 should get 1,300 mg every day. One glass of milk contains about 295 mg of calcium. Consider the non-dairy, calcium-rich options below.

(Key: The list of foods are followed by the amount of food and the amount of calcium it contains)

Calcium-fortified orange juice, 1 cup, 308–344 mg
Sardines (with edible bones), 3 oz, 270 mg
Fortified soymilk, 1 cup, 200 mg
Salmon, canned (with edible bones), 3 oz, 205 mg
Almonds, 1⁄2 cup, 180 mg
Tofu, 4 oz, 130 mg
Broccoli, raw, 1 cup, 90 mg
Pinto beans, 1⁄2 cup, 40 mg
Orange, medium size, 1, 50 mg