Do dairy foods cause bloating?

Digestive problems like bloating, cramping, rumbling or erratic bowel habits can be caused by a range of factors including stress, medication, inadequate exercise and food intolerances. Some people with lactose intolerance have an adverse reaction to the lactose component in certain dairy foods.

Last updated 22/08/2019

Some people can have adverse reactions to food, which can include bloating. It’s important to speak with a health professional before changing your diet so you don't miss out on important nutrients and health benefits.

There are several possible reasons for digestive issues such as bloating, cramping, gurgling, rumbling, burping and erratic bowel habits. Some of these can include stress, medication, inadequate exercise and food intolerances.

People with lactose intolerance have an adverse reaction to the lactose component in certain dairy foods. Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk. This happens because sometimes the body doesn’t fully digest lactose. Symptoms can include bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and/or flatulence.

Many people cut out dairy foods altogether in the hope of symptom relief, however this can limit the variety in their diet and may mean they miss out on important nutrients and health benefits.

It's important to speak with a dietitian or experienced health professional before making dietary changes. Spreading dairy intake out over a day, instead of concentrating it in one meal is often better tolerated. Hard cheeses as well as matured cheeses such as brie, camembert and feta contain virtually no lactose, and yoghurt contains good bacteria, which helps to digest lactose.

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