7 myths about lactose intolerance

Over seven million Canadians have some degree of lactose intolerance. Think you know everything there is to know about the condition? You might be surprised

By Lisa Bendall

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Myth: It’s basically the same thing as a milk allergy

The fact is, lactose intolerance and milk allergy are completely different health conditions. “Lactose intolerance is an enzyme deficiency,” says Dayna Weiten, a registered dietitian in Winnipeg. The enzyme lactase is necessary to digest the sugar in milk. In the case of lactose intolerance, your body simply isn’t making enough lactase, and can’t handle a load of lactose. On the other hand, as Weiten points out, “a milk allergy means that the body is having an immune reaction to the protein in milk.”

Another important difference: A milk allergy can be life-threatening. A lactose intolerance can be highly uncomfortable, but it there’s no risk of harm when you drink milk.

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