Lactose intolerance is a health phenomenon. Lactose intolerance is widespread worldwide - although its frequency varies from region to region. It is particularly common in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia: There, 80 to over 95 percent of people are lactose intolerant.

In case of lactose intolerance, the lactose from the food is not digested or is incompletely digested as a result of a lack of or reduced production of the digestive enzyme lactase, resulting in intolerance to milk and dairy products. If no symptoms occur, this is called lactose malabsorption.

What is lactose?

Lactose (milk sugar) is a sugar that occurs naturally in milk. It is made up of two sugar molecules, namely mucilage sugar (galactose) and glucose (glucose). Lactose occurs naturally only in the milk of mammals, including human breast milk. All types of milk we consume today, whether cow's milk, goat's milk or sheep's milk, contain approximately the same amount of lactose. The same applies to products made from these types of milk, such as sheep's or goat's cheese.

Why do some people not tolerate lactose?

The enzyme lactase, which is found in the small intestine of every healthy person, splits the lactose into its two components, which can then be absorbed into the blood through the intestinal mucosa. Ultimately, all signs of lactose intolerance are due to the absence or deficiency of the enzyme lactase. If the small intestine produces little or no lactase, the lactose can only be digested to a limited extent or not at all.

Not everyone is able to break down and utilise lactose. Lactose intolerance (lactose intolerance) is a deficiency of the enzyme lactase. As a result, lactose cannot be split and digested naturally in the small intestine.


The symptoms always occur in connection with the consumption of dairy products or food containing lactose.  Often the first lactose intolerance symptoms begin a few minutes after eating, but at the latest after two hours. Depending on the form of lactose intolerance, different symptoms occur. Abdominal pain, mild to severe flatulence and nausea to diarrhoea are most common. Feeling full, cramps and vomiting are also possible.

Symptoms such as flatulence, nausea and burping usually occur shortly after eating lactose-containing foods. However, diarrhoea-like symptoms can also occur hours later and even last for several days. In addition to the symptoms of the digestive tract, many people also suffer from general fatigue, headaches, tiredness and general malaise.

In addition to the symptoms affecting the gastrointestinal tract, there are other rather unspecific complaints such as headaches, dizziness and sleep disturbances.

Diet in case of lactose intolerance

The principle of diet in case of lactose intolerance consists in restricting or avoiding the consumption of milk and milk products as well as foods containing them.

If you are not sure which products are lactose-free, simply scan the barcode with your TIOLI app and find out whether other people with histamine intolerance tolerate this product.

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