SHOULD I DRINK MILK IF I HAVE IBD?
No one needs milk. What they need is the protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and energy (calories) that milk and milk products provide. The problem is that the majority of the world's population is lactose intolerant. That makes it a little harder to get those nutrients.
If someone is lactose intolerant, they can still drink milk that is lactose-free or one of the alternative milks. They can also take a replacement enzyme (Lactaid) when they eat dairy products. Also, there are a variety of lactose and dairy free foods on the market today.
If you choose to eat dairy-alternative foods, be sure to check the nutrition labels for calcium and vitamin D levels, since not all are fortified with enough calcium or vitamin D. <<link alternative milks>> Also check the protein and calorie content of the dairy alternatives since "milks" like almond and cashew are very low compared to cow's milk. While these milks may be fine for adults, they are not appropriate for growing children. For children, choose soy milk or a protein fortified milk alternative instead.
If you decide not to buy milk alternatives nor lactose free dairy products, you could also take lactase enzyme pills to help digest dairy if you are lactose intolerant. If instead you are allergic to milk, you have to rely solely on milk alternatives since any form of dairy (lactose free or with an enzyme pill) will cause an allergic reaction. If you do not wish to consume a milk alternative, then you will need to work with a dietitian and your doctors to ensure you are meeting your calcium and vitamin D needs
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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