Dairy products are a main source of protein and other nutrients that are essential for the growth of children in their early developmental stages. This stage is key for the development of a child’s cognitive and physical abilities, so it is essential that they receive as many vitamins and minerals as possible.
Lactose is a sugar found in milk. It’s recorded that 65% of people worldwide experience lactose intolerance past their infancy, but lactose intolerance isn’t rare in infants. What does this mean for children? Lactose intolerance in children means that their body struggles to break down or digest lactose.
The following symptoms occur shortly after feeding:
In avoiding these dairy products, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the necessary nutritional requirements children need in their developmental phase, as milk is also a major source of calcium.
It’s important that lactose-intolerant children get sufficient calcium intake as calcium is essential for healthy bones and growth. A lack of calcium may cause an extreme lack of energy and can also lead to insomnia, brain fog and light-headedness. As a result, this may lead to a lack of focus and forgetfulness.
Fortunately, this obstacle is one that may be conquered with alternative sources of calcium.
Milk substitutes for calcium include:
If your little one likes milk in their cereal, alternatives like goat’s milk won’t work because all milk that comes from a mammal contains lactose. Try soy milk, rice milk and almond milk. They may not have natural calcium, but are loaded with other vitamins and antioxidants.
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Barhum, L. (2020, December 17). What happens when calcium levels are low? Retrieved from Medical News today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321865
Boston Childrens Hospital. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/l/lactose-intolerance/diagnosis-and-treatment
Everyday Health. (n.d.). Digestive Health. Retrieved from Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health-pictures/food-substitutes-for-lactose-intolerance.aspx
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Lactose Intolerance. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lactose-intolerance/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374238