Lactose is a type of natural sugar found in milk; when your body cannot digest it, you suffer from lactose intolerance. It occurs when the small intestine doesn’t make enough of the enzyme lactase, which it needs to break down or digest lactose, WebMD explains.
When lactose moves through the large intestine without being digested properly it can cause a variety of uncomfortable health related issues – gas, bloating, abdominal pain.
Slideshow: 10 Signs You May Be Lactose Intolerant
Eliminating dairy from your diet may not be the worst thing. Studies have shown that over consumption of dairy may result in high cholesterol and an increased risk for heart disease. However, it’s important to remember that if you do decide to stop consuming dairy, you have to make up for the loss of nutrients in other ways.
Individuals may face health issues because they are not consuming essential nutrients. The good news is that they can still get their calcium and vitamin D from other sources. “Non-milk products high in calcium include fish with soft bones, such as canned salmon and sardines, and dark green vegetables, such as spinach,” the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) says. “Foods such as salmon, tuna, eggs, and liver naturally contain vitamin D.”