Lactose intolerance

Milk jug image

Lactose is the naturally occurring sugar in dairy products, particularly milk. According to the latest National Health Survey, 4.5% of people reported an intolerance to cow’s milk or dairy foods1. Symptoms of intolerance can include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, flatulence and/or bloating after consuming lactose. However, people diagnosed with lactose intolerance can still enjoy the benefits of milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives (mostly reduced-fat) in their diet.

Professor Dennis Savaiano from Purdue University is a leading US expert on lactose digestion. Having studied lactose digestion for over 30 years he has influenced dietary recommendations relating to lactose around the world, including the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. 

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics [Internet]. Canberra: ABS; 2015. Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12. Cat 4364.0.55.007. [updated 2015 Oct 15; cited 2016 Feb 10]. Available: