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What are the drawbacks?

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Dairy products are the best source of calcium, a mineral that's really important for healthy bones. People who don't eat them should make sure they're getting calcium in other ways.

Other natural sources of calcium include nuts, pulses and green veg. Some products made with milk alternatives contain added calcium and you can even buy orange juice with the vitamin added. If in doubt, you can always take a calcium supplement but talk to your doctor first.

What do you do?

It might be worth giving goat's or sheep's milk a try but, in general, people who are allergic or intolerant to cow's milk tend to be allergic to goat and sheep's milk too. If that's the case, you need to stop eating all foods that contain butter or margarine, milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt and lactose.

The good news is, there are now lots of dairy-free alternatives available in supermarkets and health food shops.
Watch out for other foods that also contain milk-based products such as chocolate, ice cream and even bread and other baked products. If in doubt, check the label or go for a completely dairy free alternative instead like a fruit and water based sorbet instead of ice cream.

Everything that doesn't include dairy and the milk-free alternative foods that are now sold in most big supermarkets. Milk and yoghurts made from soya and rice are just as tasty and won't upset your stomach. Try Rice Dream Original on your cornflakes or Alpro Soya yoghurts poured over fruit. You can buy a soya spread to use instead of butter or margarine.

Typical day's diet

Breakfast: Shredded wheat with soya/rice milk, 2 slices wholemeal bread with non-dairy spread.
Lunch: Homemade vegtable soup, chicken salad, fruit.
Dinner: Tuna Risotto, veg, fruit based sorbet.
Snacks: Dried apricots, nuts.

Top tip

Certain ethnic groups are much more likely to be lactose intolerant than others. According to the NHS, only 10 per cent of Northern Europeans are lactose intolerant compared with 75 per cent of Afro-Caribbean people and 95 per cent of Asian people.

Join our Diet Club

Check out our calorie controlled, Dairy-free Diet Club plan and use our team of health experts to guide you towards a healthy, well-balanced dairy free diet. Join now and get 4 weeks free

Find out more

Visit your doctor to find out if you're allergic or intolerant to dairy products. Never put your child on a dairy free diet without consulting your GP first.

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Go to www.lactose.co.uk or www.alprosoya.co.uk for more information.

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