Did you know that more than 6 billion people worldwide consume milk and milk products? However, a large percentage of the total world population suffers from lactose intolerance; the body’s decreased ability to digest lactose is what is described as lactose intolerance. Additionally, lactose is a sugar found in dairy milk. A reason as to why lactose free milk exists. The condition is characterised by symptoms such as diarrhoea, gas and bloating. These tend to occur 30 minutes to two hours after consuming dairy products. However, it is different from milk allergy, which is an adverse immune reaction to the proteins in animal milk.
Although the condition is manageable, many avoid dairy products. There are interesting options to choose from, varying from lactose-free milk to plant-based milk. Altogether simply put, it is milk with lactose removed from it.
This condition is brought about by the deficiency of lactase, an enzyme produced in the small intestine that breaks down the lactose in milk. Manufacturers produce the option by adding lactase to regular milk. Milk is not affected in anyway by this and it retains all the important elements. The taste and smell of both kinds of milk do not vary.
How is it made?
Lactose-free milk is made by adding a synthetic enzyme lactase to the milk. The enzyme predigests the sugar into glucose and galactose. The resulting milk still contains the enzyme, so it is ultrapasteurised to deactivate it and extend the shelf life.
Another way of making this kind of milk is by completely straining the lactose out of the milk. This is through ultrafiltration techniques that mechanically separate lactose from milk, completely removing the sugar.
Lactose-free milk has a longer shelf life compared to regular milk as it lacks lactose, which is responsible for most of milk’s spoilage. Even as lactose-free milk is a good alternative for people with lactose intolerance, it’s unsuitable for those with dairy allergy.
Some more information is available at; https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lactose-free-milk