Lactose Intolerant vs. Lactose Sensitive

This is my personal and sponsored story.

It is amazing how many food allergies our kids have. It has always been something I have heard from family and friends, but more of a passive thing, like, “Oh, that is a bummer” or  “Oh, that must be really hard.” Until it happened to me. Or more accurately, my daughter.

When she was 7 months old, we found out she had a banana allergy. Yes, a banana allergy. Which of course means she is at a higher risk now for more allergies, that only time will share with us. But once we determined what allergy she had, I didn’t realize how much baby food has bananas in it; Spinach and Banana puree, Peaches and Banana puree, Banana and Peas….

As I was talking to her doctor about it, he was asking if anyone else had food allergies in the family. I said no…until he asked if anyone had any food sensitivities.

lactose intolerance vs sensitive

I wish more people used that word because when we think of allergies, we think of life and death situations. But food sensitivities is a wider net, and one that I had to answer yes to the question he asked.

I have a milk sensitivity. Otherwise known as “lactose sensitive”. I can’t have certain kinds of ice cream (no Dairy Queen for me) and I have to watch what I eat during the day (cheese, milk, yogurt, things with milk in it,) because it can add up and make me ill. Which, in my limited medical knowledge, is the difference between lactose sensitivity vs. lactose intolerance.

It is because my body doesn’t break down the lactose, a carbohydrate in dairy foods, very well (vs. not breaking it down at all). Many of us don’t have or don’t produce enough of this enzyme and it is one of those things that you can develop over the course of your life. Kind of like you boobs sagging or peeing when you go for a run. (Personal stuff just doesn’t work as well as we get older. LOL.)

If this sounds like you, here are some ideas to make your lactose sensitivity to be, well, less sensitive.

  • Try not to eat lactose foods by themselves. So have crackers with cheese, for example.
  • Speaking of cheese, more aged cheese, or cheese like Cheddar, Gruyere, Pecorino, Swiss Cheese has less lactose in them.
  • Yogurt is a good milk-based product that many lactose-sensitive and lactose intolerant people find is okay because yogurt has live and active cultures in it that help digest the lactose. Especially Greek yogurt.

But again, be careful how you eat during the day. Watch the total amount of milk-based products you eat. Which is why I have a quart of Lactaid™ milk, for example. While milk itself doesn’t bother me, if I have milk and then yogurt, I’m done for. So having Lactaid works for me, because I can have my special milk (as my son calls it) and it gives me more flexibility in what I can eat during the day. Lactaid has the lactase enzyme added to break down the lactose. Bonus is that it has twice the amount of calcium we need everyday.

So I hope that you’ll talk to your doctor if this sounds like you! And if you are looking for a fabulous lactose-free blueberry muffins recipe, here is a great video showing you how.

And stay tuned for my own lactose-free recipe!


Image Credit: Hades2k via Flickr Creative Commons  

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About Charlene DeLoach

As a Boston Mom Blogger in Massachusetts, Charlene DeLoach doesn't care about the megapixels on a smartphone. She only cares about whether it will survive being in the hands of her kids.


  1. Interesting, I have been lactose intolerant since I was 30 and as you mention in your post certain things bother me and others do not like yogurt and some cheeses. But milk, cream sauces and most ice creams do so I have learned to carry around lactose pills with me.

    Do not want to be without them when I am craving a Dairy Queen :).


  1. […] a month ago, I wrote a sponsored post called Lactaid Intolerant vs. Lactose Sensitive. There is an interesting difference between the two, but regardless of which dairy camp you are in, […]

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