10 signs you’re not lactose intolerant, even if you think you are
Dr. Nusbaum was interviewed by Insider Magazine for his expertise in lactose intolerance. Read the full article here.
- Lactose intolerance is something that a lot of people experience over the course of their lives or, at least, they might think that they do.
- But there are a lot of symptoms of lactose intolerance that can also be symptoms of other conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, food sensitivities, and more.
- Knowing what sorts of things might point to you not being lactose intolerant is worth it because it might actually be something else entirely — and once you’re armed with that information, you can better address what’s really going on.
Chances are there’s someone in your life that doesn’t eat dairy products. And though many might make that choice because of ethical considerations and the like, others choose to abstain because they feel that dairy products make them feel bloated and gassy, resulting in painful cramps, diarrhea, or other sorts of digestive upset. It’s just not worth it if eating those sorts of foods make you feel sick. But it might not actually be lactose intolerance that’s the culprit. Rather, you might be mistaking what you’re experiencing for lactose intolerance, but it could actually be something else. Here’s what you may need to know.
It’s actually a different food sensitivity that’s causing symptoms.
“The symptoms of lactose intolerance are kind of broad and can overlap with a lot of other things. So typically, diarrhea, nausea, sometimes vomiting, but usually not, gas, bloating, abdominal cramps, but those can be the symptoms of a lot of things,” Dr. Michael Nusbaum, MD, a bariatric surgeon, told INSIDER. “I have patients who come in all the time and they’ll come in and they’ll say, “I have irritable bowel syndrome,” or “I’ve got lactose intolerance,” you know, there are easy ways to test for that and that’s how we kind of start it is checking these patients and seeing what they’re actually, what’s actually going on in their bodies, and what I’ve found over the last 20 years of doing this, is that a lot of patients have food sensitivities and they don’t even realize and it’s maybe not lactose intolerance.”
It can be difficult to determine if you truly have lactose intolerance or another food sensitivity if you’re experiencing painful, uncomfortable, or even debilitating symptoms, particularly if you’re not always eating whole foods or each potential ingredient on its own. So just because it seems to be lactose intolerance doesn’t necessarily mean that it truly is.
You did an elimination diet on your own.
Elimination diets can help you determine what sorts of things you might actually react to when you eat or drink them, so they can be useful tools when you’re trying to get to the bottom of your symptoms. If you try to go it on your own with an elimination diet, you might end up with a skewed or misleading end result.
“You didn’t really read it right because you don’t really understand it because things overlap,” Nusbaum explained. He recommended having a physician oversee your elimination diet so that they can ensure that any conclusions you’re drawing from the test are the correct ones. Because, as Nusbaum further explained, some things can sort of overlap, which could mean that you thought it was a certain fruit to which you reacted, but it was actually a nut or something else that overlaps with that particular fruit.
Confusing? Maybe, but that’s why recruiting the help of a professional can help ensure that it goes more smoothly.