What causes lactose?

It is normal for children to drink cow's milk. But with increasing age, most people consume less and less of it. If you drink a glass once again as an adult, some people react with abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea or diarrhea. Behind this may be a lactose intolerance. We wanted to know what to look for and whether lactose-free products make sense. What is lactose intolerance exactly?
Lactose is the name given to the lactose contained in every mammalian milk (including sheep, goat, mares or camel milk). It is broken down by the enzyme lactase in the small intestine and absorbed by the body. If there is not enough lactase, part of it goes into the colon. This leads to the unpleasant consequences. Attention: The intolerance must not be confused with an allergy. In this the immune system reacts to the milk protein. Most affected are infants (about 2-3 percent). Diarrhea or a weak endogenous defense system can be an indication. How many people are affected?
This varies greatly from region to region. While in Southeast Asia up to 90 percent of adults have lactose problems, there are only 15-20 percent affected in Austria. The more dairy farming is traditionally anchored in a society, the fewer people have this problem. A doctor can detect intolerance through the breath or through a blood glucose test. What happens in the body?
If the lactose is not completely broken down in the small intestine, it gets into the colon. The bacteria living there process them further, producing fermentation gases that inflate the belly. In addition, the acids retain water in the colon, which can lead to diarrhea. Other, more unspecific symptoms are headache, dizziness, tiredness or difficulty concentrating. Where is lactose everywhere?
Of course, in all dairy products, but if they are acidified or fermented, the content will be lower. This is why many yoghurt, cheese or butter can handle better. But even in products that you would not expect, there is lactose. Take care of convenience foods, sausages, sweeteners, frozen foods, baking mixes, dry cereals, margarine and even medications. Which replacement products are there?
If you have severe symptoms, you should deliberately omit lactose-containing foods. As a substitute for milk or whipped cream in soups and sauces, you can use soy or coconut milk. Do lactose-free products make sense?
For sufferers, the special offer makes sense in any case, even if the individual products cost a little more. The most common dairy products (yoghurt, cream cheese, curd cheese, …) are now available lactose-free in many supermarkets. Hard cheese and even chocolate are already available in the variant.