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Reduced lactose or lactose free

Lactose is the name of the type of sugar that is found naturally in milk. Some people can't digest lactose properly, and having milk and some dairy products makes them feel sick or bloated and gives them stomach pains and diarrhoea.

Some people with lactose intolerance find that they can cope with small amounts of milk in their diet, such as a milk glaze on pastry, or one or two pieces of chocolate, but the amount that someone can tolerate varies from person to person.

Milk and dairy products with reduced lactose are available from some supermarkets and health food shops. People with lactose intolerance can also use soya, rice and oat drinks instead of milk. It's a good idea to choose one with added calcium. Most soya, rice and oat drinks claim to be 'lactose free' because these don't contain any lactose naturally.

There are no rules to say how much less lactose a 'reduced lactose' milk must contain.

You will need to check the information on the label when deciding whether a food is right for you.

You may see in the nutrition information on the label that there is some sugar in these foods. These are usually other types of sugar that have been added for taste, and you can check this using the ingredients list. If in doubt contact the manufacturer.