Lactose free milk in Thailand
February 5, 2023
Why diarrhea and gas after milk
Lactose is a type of carbohydrate. Like sucrose (the common sugar that we add to tea and coffee), lactose belongs to the group of disaccharides, that is, it consists of two sugar molecules. But if sucrose consists of residues of glucose and fructose, then the lactose molecule consists of residues of glucose and galactose molecules.
Lactose is found in milk and dairy products, which is why it is also called “milk sugar”.
Babies who start life on milk can digest and absorb lactose. In adulthood, the level of lactase decreases – an enzyme that is necessary for the proper digestion of lactose. From the point of view of nature, this is quite logical – before the domestication of dairy animals, people did not have the opportunity to consume milk in adulthood.
But the situation changed after the domestication of animals that give milk. Some people have a beneficial mutation – the ability to digest lactose, and, accordingly, eat milk, even in adulthood. Nowadays, some people can eat milk and some people can't. I belong to the second group. For us lactose intolerant people, milk and dairy products cause symptoms of poisoning: gas and bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and in some even vomiting.
Different nations have a different percentage of people who are lactose intolerant, see the article for details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactose_intolerance
Is there lactose free milk in Thailand?
According to the Wikipedia table, Thais are lactose intolerant in 98% of the adult population. Milk and dairy products are not characteristic of Thai culture. Coconut milk is much more often used in cooking and desserts than cow's milk.
If Thais want to drink milk, then this milk will most likely be soy milk. First, it's just cheaper. Secondly, it does not contain lactose.
However, stores such as 7-Eleven always sell milk, and the assortment of fruit and chocolate milk is quite large. Someone apparently buys it, but it's definitely not the most popular drink in Thailand.
If you love milk, but milk doesn't love you and acts like a poison on your body, there is a wonderful solution (other than inexpensive soy milk) – lactose-free cow's milk.
In Thailand, lactose-free milk is sold under the brand names:
Lactose-free milk is labeled “Lactose Free”.
Both of these producers make two varieties of milk:
- regular fat (dark blue or black labels)
- with 0% fat (light blue labels)
Where to buy lactose free milk in Thailand
Ordinary milk in Thailand is not a traditional product and, compared to other foods, is quite expensive. And lactose-free milk is even more expensive! For this reason, lactose-free milk may not be available in small shops.
For example, before writing this article, I went around several 7-Elevens (in Pattaya) close to my house and did not find lactose-free milk anywhere. Apparently, it's just that no one here needs it.
In the next photo, I'm holding a small bottle of lactose-free milk that I bought at 7-Eleven in Bangkok. There, this milk was not always available and only in small containers (in terms of a liter of cost, this is the most expensive option).
Large two-liter containers of lactose-free milk can be found in large grocery supermarkets:
- Big C
- Tesco Lotus
- and other similar stores
It is possible that in the provinces of Thailand, where there are few tourists, it will be difficult for you to find lactose-free milk.
What about drinking yogurt and fruit milk for lactose intolerance?
So-called drinkable yogurts and fruit milks are regular milks with additives that make them fruity. They act on my body in the same way as just milk – they cause all the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
That is, if you are lactose intolerant, I would not advise drinking fruit milk and drinking yogurts.
What dairy products can be consumed with lactose intolerance
There is no lactose in fermented milk products – it is consumed by lactic acid bacteria and converted into something else. That is, even with lactose intolerance, you can eat yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, cheese.
Butter is also lactose-free.
Why lactose intolerance symptoms come and go
If your body is lactose intolerant, but you can drink regular (not labeled as Lactose Free) milk from some manufacturers without unpleasant consequences, then the conclusion is quite obvious: this “milk” simply does not contain real cow's milk. The modern food industry can make quite convincing tasting milk surrogates (for example, from palm oil), which nevertheless are not cow's milk.
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