Lactose Intolerance is a digestive disorder that sounds like a silly joke until you have it. Then it's more like a cruel joke.
When people hear about lactose intolerance, they probably think of the guy who farts when he drinks milk. While that can be an amusing, if juvenile, party trick, the fact is that most of the time, that guy is probably in excruciating intestinal pain. Which, if you're a sick bastard, is still kinda funny.
The actual reason for the intestinal pain is because the sufferer's body can no longer produce enough lactase enzyme, a magical substance in the small intestine that takes a complex sugar like lactose and breaks it down into simpler sugars that the intestines can handle.
Like this, but for digestion
But the digestive tract is that co-worker that doesn't raise any issues until everything goes to hell, then claims s/he "saw all the warning signs." If the body stops producing lactase, the stomach and intestines go right on digestin'. Except that the lactose, now soaked in stomach acid, doesn't stop to get neutralized by lactase. So all that sugar-acid rushes into your lower intestine and causes you to regret everything related to milk.
Every person's body can produce lactase at first. But as you get older, you're less likely to subsist on milk and more likely to get your nutrients from, y'know, food. So some have theorized that once the body realizes it's not getting milk in such huge quantities, it decides to tone down it's lactase production.
Above: Huge "Quantities"
According to some wiki, "Up to 80 percent of African Americans, 80 to 100 percent of American Indians, and 90 to 100 percent of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant. The condition is least common among people of northern European descent. Babies that are born prematurely are also more likely to be lactose intolerant, because lactase levels do not increase until the third trimester of a woman's pregnancy." There is no mention of how they got these numbers, or what percentage of Whitey can't handle milk, so we're going to assume the researchers are all white people trying to trick other races out of their ice cream.
"Ha ha ha, none for you!"
The best way to deal with lactose intolerance is to reduce or remove the dairy in your diet, according to pretty much every person who's heard of the disease.
Well, those people can go fuck themselves, because unless they actually have lactose intolerance, they've never discovered that lactose quantities differ with even something as simple as milk %.
Quick! What's the difference between Skim Milk and Whole Milk?
If you answered "one tastes like rich cream (whole milk) and one tastes like water someone sneezed in (skim milk)" then you're right (but shouldn't let people sneeze in your water).
If you answered "amount of fat in the milk" you are also right but clearly haven't tasted the difference or you'd have given the first answer.
If you answered "one hurts less", then you are probably lactose intolerant. Or the taste of skim actually causes you pain, which is kind of the same thing.
See, the fat in the milk is where the rich flavor comes from. So if you take out the fat, you need to add in something to emulate the taste. In many sweet foods, less fat tends to equal more sugar. Lactose is a sugar. So yeah, skim milk isn't just worse to drink. It's also worse to digest.
Cheeses also have different amounts of lactose, which can be fairly easy to gauge if you don't buy shredded stuff. Higher amounts of lactose make cheese more soft and stringy. So mozzarella and brie cheese are going to give someone with lactose intolerance more trouble than cheddar or romano.
If you eat American Cheese, you deserve everything that happens afterwards.
Yogurt is such an orgy of enzymes that it's frequently easier to digest than milk. However, this doesn't mean it's lactose-free.
After the yogurt is made safe to digest, it is then resupplied with lactose and frozen. I think. I don't know the actual process and I'm too lazy to look it up. All you need to know is that frozen yogurt is as horrible to digest as regular ice cream.
You're wondering if a dairy-based dessert has a high amount of a dairy-based sugar? Didn't you read the section on frozen yogurt?
According to the people at this site, cottage cheese is "naturally low in lactose". That's like saying a crack whore is naturally low in herpes; it's so inaccurate that it can be used as objective proof that either the writer is actively trying to hurt anyone who reads their advice or they have no idea what words actually mean. Cottage cheese is psychotically full of lactose. Those curds? Unless they're dry, they're full of lactose. Because the liquid part of the cottage cheese is whey. Whey is to lactose what lactose is to lactose because they're the same fucking thing.
"Fine," you think. "Then just avoid dairy." Oh, if it were only that easy. After all, there're plenty of foods that have calcium in them, and that's the big reason we're supposed to chug so much cheese, right?
Well, it turns out that lactose is almost as prolific as corn in our daily lives.
Cake is awesome, no matter how annoying memes try to make it. Hell, pie is damn good, too. So are muffins, cupcakes, waffles, croissants, brownies, and cookies. And guess what's in all those things?
No, but that'd throw the Internet for a loop, wouldn't it?
When baking, the thing that gives those foods a fluffy, cakey texture is whey. Except for pie, where most of the lactose will be from any whipped cream you put on it. And although they're not technically "food", snack cakes do have lactose.
Nowhere is the whey = cake texture more embodied than in that staple of American cuisine: the donut. If you have lactose intolerance, the donut is your enemy. I say this as someone who is extremely sensitive to lactose and has been for years. One mini-donut is enough to take me down for several hours, if not most of the day. And that sucks, because donuts are delicious and easy to eat when you're in a hurry.
And let's not forget bread. There's not much milk in bread (and fortunately, that's the only lactose you usually find in it), but bread's not exactly easy to avoid if you want a sandwich, or a hamburger, or Subway.
Subway: The American Cheese of Sandwiches
And ice cream cake is just the world telling you to go fuck yourself.
Obviously, clam chowder isn't that way purely from fish semen. What's surprising is that it's not the only lactose-laden soup.
Maybe an Asian person wronged one of Campbell's executives years ago, but whatever the reason, Campbell's seems to have a vendetta against the lactose intolerant. They load up each can of soup with enough lactose to make every Japanese citizen know how the samurai felt when they had to disembowel themselves. They do this via a sinister method called "noodles". For some reason (flavor), they make sure any noodles or other pasta items they throw into their broth has enough butter and butter-enhancers to trick the human stomach into thinking it's getting a bigger meal. So while normals can walk away from a helping of Campbell's chicken noodle with only a sense that they've taken in their cholesterol for the week, the lactose intolerant find that the light lunch or snack they've eaten has just declared anarchy in their guts.
Sure, Campbell's labels everything so if you look at the ingredients, a careful scan will show you what's in a given can. But it would be nicer if they'd come right out and say that they use lactose. Like Maruchan does on their ramen.
Honesty. Integrity. Controversy.
This is going to come as a shock to many readers, but you probably shouldn't eat Cheetos or Doritos. In this case, though, it would be because you're lactose intolerant and, despite what comedy insists, those snacks contain cheese. Specifically, they contain dry milk powder, which is just like whey, except it's too much of a pussy to just call itself whey.
It's fairly easy to tell what does or doesn't have lactose in fast food. Usually. Obviously if you don't want lactose, make sure they don't put cheese on your burger and don't order any shakes, malts, Frostys, Blizzards, parfaits, or ice cream. Don't worry about the burger buns at these places, as most of them contain no lactose at all. In fact, the chicken sandwiches at many fast food chains contain no lactose.
Lactaid is a product that you likely haven't noticed at most grocery stores because it's in the same aisle as the ass creams, and no one stays in that aisle any longer than they have to.
Lactaid is a supplement you take that is 100% lactase enzyme, so you can eat any of the foods mentioned above and, as long as you take enough Lactaid, you'll be fine.
What's distressing, at least in my case, is that Lactaid is rather smug about the role they play. There are usually two choices at most markets: Lactaid and the generic lactase enzyme supplement connected with the store. Lactaid keeps each dose (swallowable pill or chewable tablet) in its own little condom-wrapper, which makes them easier to carry than a bottle of generic pills.
But it's still not a good idea to fuck your coffee before it cools.
Lactaid also provides lactose-free milk and ice cream, both bukkaked with the logo all over their containers. I don't know how the ice cream compares to regular ice cream because I haven't had the regular stuff in years, but the Lactaid stuff is pretty good. It tastes like how I think ice cream tastes, so that's a win.
The same can't be said for the milk. Unless I'm craving milk, any of the lactose-free version tastes awful. See, they don't manufacture special milk that has the lactose extracted. They just take normal milk and carpet-bomb it with lactase enzyme. So the result is what milk would taste like if the lactose was broken down to simple sugars before it gets to you. Like any specialty food, you can get used to the taste, but it takes a while. What you don't get used to is the smell, which is somewhere between milk that is starting to go bad and a sweaty sock. It takes a lot longer to go bad than regular milk, which is good, because it costs about as much for a half-gallon of lactose-free as it does for a gallon of regular.
And the skim milk still tastes like shit.