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Mar 10, 2022

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:

  • diarrhoea 
  • stomach cramps
  • bloating
  • gas
As a result, it’s advisable to avoid dairy products like yoghurt, milk, formula, prepared oats, and mashed potatoes f you are lactose intolerant. 

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:

  • green vegetables (e.g. broccoli and kale)
  • fish (e.g. salmon and sardines)
  • yoghurt with active cultures
  • dried figs
  • fortified orange juice
  • calcium supplements

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.

Bestmed Tempo nutrition plan

For a personalised nutrition plan, Bestmed members need only complete their free Health Assessment at any Dis-Chem, Clicks, Van Heerden, or Alpha Pharm, or Sparkport Pharmacy to unlock their Bestmed Tempo wellness programme benefit of three nutrition journey consultations with a network dietitian per member/dependant 16 years and older. 

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


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