Dairy foods important for intolerant kids

September 15, 2006|By Los Angeles Times

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics says that even children who can't easily digest lactose should have dairy foods to make sure they get enough calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients for growth.

"A lot of people say they are lactose-intolerant, so they can't have any dairy products," said Dr. Melvin Heyman, chief of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at University of California, San Francisco Children's Hospital.

"But now we know there is a problem with that down the road: osteoporosis," said Heyman, lead author of the report published in the September issue of Pediatrics.

Although lactose intolerance causes uncomfortable symptoms - abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and flatulence - it is not going to cause injury, he said.

Experts suggest consuming small amounts of lactose in 4- to 8-ounce portions - with other food. Choose yogurt over milk because the bacteria partially digest the lactose. Eat aged cheeses, such as cheddar and Swiss, likely to have less lactose.

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