What is Lactose Intolerance? Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, the predominant sugar of milk, and is the most common food intolerance among Americans. In fact, 30-50 million Americans or at least one out of ten people are lactose intolerant. This inability to digest lactose results from a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is normally produced by the cells that line the small intestine. Lactase breaks down milk sugar into simpler forms that can then be absorbed into the bloodstream. When there is not enough lactase to digest the amount of lactose consumed, the results, although not usually dangerous, can be uncomfortable and include symptoms such as: nausea, cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea – which begin about 30 minute to 2 hours after eating or drinking foods containing lactose. Lactose intolerance can be easily diagnosed on an outpatient basis at a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office.
Fortunately, lactose intolerance is relatively easy to treat. While no treatment can improve the body’s ability to produce lactase, symptoms can be controlled through diet and sometimes medication.
People who are sensitive to dairy products are usually sensitive to either lactose (the sugar naturally present in milk) or to the milk protein. Products that are called "Lactose Free" do not contain any milk sugar, but they may contain isolated, milk protein as caseinate.
"Dairy Free" products do not contain lactose or milk proteins. If you would like to avoid milk proteins or dairy completely, you should only purchase Amy's products that are labeled "Dairy Free," "non-dairy," or "vegan."
Amy’s understands that people differ in the amounts and types of foods they can handle. We also understand how hard it can be for individuals, especially for children and young adults, to limit their consumption of age-old favorites including Pizzas, Lasagnas, and Macaroni and Cheese. That’s why we’ve created 56 Non-Dairy and Vegan options including our renditions of America’s favorite dishes such as Soy Cheeze Pizza and Macaroni and Soy Cheeze.
Most Dairy Reactions are not Lactose Intolerance
Most reactions to milk are mistakenly considered to be lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is defined by a person having a deficiency in the enzyme lactase. Lactase is needed in order to digest the sugar component in milk called lactose.
Many people are lactose intolerant, but millions more have an immune reaction to dairy. Unfortunately, most people don’t recognize that there is a difference between the two issues.
These people usually do not figure out that dairy is causing their symptoms because they never actually eliminate dairy from their diet, only lactose. Avoiding lactose only partially helps their condition and often doesn’t help at all. What they don’t realize is that even though they are avoiding lactose, they are not avoiding dairy.
The most blatant example is lactose free milk. Lactose free milk is still a major dairy product. If you are drinking lactose free milk you haven’t even begun to eliminate dairy from diet, only lactose. Dairy is used in many products that are considered to be lactose free. Whey protein powder is essentially dried milk, without the lactose. Whey is not only sold as a protein powder, it is also used as an ingredient in hundreds of different food products from bread to soup to candy.
If you have an immune reaction to milk, then you have a dairy allergy. Any form of dairy in any food product is then a trigger for you. This includes all milk, cheese, whey, casein, cream, half and half, and even butter. Symptoms can range from virtually any digestive problem to eczema, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and even chronic sinusitis. In fact there are hundreds of symptoms that can result from a dairy allergy.
Many, many infants react to dairy, which is typically the first food introduced to an infant in the form of infant formula. Dairy can cause reflux, vomiting, colic, poor development, and inability to sleep.
The only way to avoid all sources of dairy is to read all ingredients and to find acceptable alternative products. There are now hundreds of good dairy free foods on the market, and the list is expanding every day. Although traditionally these have typically been soy based, there are many other options these days. Earth Balance brand margarine, for example, is an outstanding butter substitute.
Soy, rice, almond, oat, hazelnut, and even coconut milks are now widely available. Coconut, rice and soy ice creams are wonderful ice cream alternatives. Even dairy free cheese is improving since the introduction of the Daiya brand line of cheeses. They are used in Amy’s brand dairy free macaroni and cheese, a surprisingly rich and tasty product.
If you haven’t ever tried eliminating dairy from your diet, but suspect that it may be a problem for you, you really should get tested for a dairy allergy. Your health is worth it! It is by far the most problematic food seen at our clinic and readily shows up as positive lab work with the advanced food allergy testing we use.
And there is no need to worry about not getting enough calcium. There isn’t a single animal on the planet that drinks cow’s milk as an adult (including cows!), and none of them has issues with bone density. We simply don’t need it, and in millions of cases suffer more than we benefit.
Said best by our consumers and supported by our employees, Amy’s is dedicated to providing our Lactose-intolerant consumers with delicious convenience foods:
Amy! Thanks so much for your amazing lactose-free products. I recently became lactose-intolerant, and after a year of living in the dark, deprived of all I love, I saw your Mac & Cheese and screamed with delight. Mum thought I had gone crazy as I started crying. Not only did it introduce me to your line (which I now experiment and enjoy all) but it got me to explore and branch out so I found that it’s not bad after all! Thank you! You are a lifesaver
From Daisy Frearson
I have recently been diagnosed as lactose intolerant and am amazed by the number of lactose-free products you have. I love all of the products I have tried and am looking forward to trying the pizza with no cheese and your rice bowls. Thank you for creating such healthy, organic, lactose-free meals that taste great!
Take care and happy holidays,
I just wanted to say thank you and I love your products! Keep those yummy foods coming! Being lactose intolerant, it's nice to be able to enjoy food again. From Vicki Gagliardi
Hello to everyone at Amy's Kitchen! I am not a strict vegetarian, but due to health reasons I have significantly reduced the amount of animal products in my diet. I am lactose intolerant and it is very difficult to find dairy-free products in the small town were I live. A friend of mine suggested Amy's products (which luckily I found at my local HEB Market), so I chose to start with the Roasted Vegetable Pizza. All I can say is WOW!!! This is the best pizza I have tasted in a long time! So good in fact, my husband wanted me to trade my vegetarian pizza for his 3-meat pizza (and he is a "strict meat-eater")!!! I am so glad to finally find dairy-free vegetarian meals that actually taste so good! Keep up the good work!
Melissa from Texas
Amy's Kitchen labels products as Dairy Free, Non-Dairy, or Vegan if they contain no lactose or milk proteins. Amy's Kitchen recognizes the needs of our customers who have allergies or sensitivities dairy. Amy's always fully discloses all ingredients (except for specific spices used in the product) on the ingredient statement and will answer any questions that will help consumers decide what products they can safely consume. At Amy's we take every precaution to ensure that cross contamination of ingredients does not occur in our production facility but we want you to know that this product was produced in a plant that processes dairy.
For more information on Lactose intolerance, visit the following websites:
- American Dietetic Association
- Internation Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse