If you've been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, you can still enjoy pizza, although it contains lactose from the cheese. Cheeses tend to have less lactose than other dairy products because of the enzymes used to create cheese. If you're severely lactose intolerant, you may need to use an enzyme supplement when eating pizza. Before you modify your diet to treat any condition, talk with your doctor. Lactose intolerance is a common condition that can cause unpleasant symptoms after ingesting any food containing dairy.
Lactose intolerance, or a lactase deficiency, is a malfunction of the small intestines, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases or NIDDK. Lactose is a sugar primarily found in cow's milk that requires the digestive system to break it down into more simple sugars. Lactase is the required enzyme that digests the lactose so that the body can absorb the sugars. If you don't produce enough lactase, your body will not be able to absorb the sugar and therefore cause inflammation and irritation in the gut.
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Each person that is lactose intolerant has a different level of intolerance, according to MedlinePlus. You may be able to eat pizza without any symptoms, while someone else may need to take some precautionary steps before eating pizza. Cheese is commonly easier to digest, but for some people with a severe intolerance, pizza can lead to familiar symptoms. If you experience lactose intolerant symptoms after eating pizza, you can take a lactase supplement before ingesting the pizza or eat a pizza made without cheese.
About 20 to 30 minutes after eating pizza, you may develop common symptoms associated with lactose intolerance. These may include gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and nausea according to NIDDK. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and typically don't last for more than a few hours. If you're severely lactose intolerant, complications can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration. Talk with your doctor if you develop any concerning symptoms.
Before eating pizza again , determine how intolerant you are using an elimination diet. Stop eating all dairy for up to two weeks and then re-introduce cheese back into your diet. Eat 1 teaspoon of cheese the first day and slowly increase the amount daily, until you develop symptoms. You can also prevent symptoms by using lactose-free cheeses and taking a lactase enzyme at the first bite of the pizza.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.