Milk is known to all of us as an important, not to mention primary, source of calcium. Dairy products have even more nutritional value than just calcium sources – it is an important source of proteins, minerals and solvent vitamins. Milk contains a mixture of proteins, which are divided into two groups: caseins (~80%) and whey (~20%). Whey contains 60% of vital amino acids and therefore, the biological value is higher than all proteins. Lactose is a disaccharide sugar and is a carbohydrate only found in milk. Lactose intolerance stems from a decrease in the efficiency of lactase release. Hard cheeses contain the least amount of lactose; cottage cheese has half the amount of lactose that soft cheeses have and low-lactose milk has 80% less lactose than regular milk.
In Israel, it is estimated that 70% of the Jewish population and 80% of the Arab population suffer from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance differs from person to person. Most lactose intolerance sufferers can stomach some types of cheeses and yogurts.
Studies have shown that most people suffering from lactose intolerance can consume about 2 cups worth of milk (20 g. of lactose) as long as they eat the dairy with a meal that contains other foods and that the maximum consumption at one time is not more than one cup of milk (10 g. of lactose) – preferably less.
People who suffer from lactose intolerance need to make sure they get the recommended amount of daily calcium.