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Cooking tasty meals for friends and family members can sometimes prove challenging when someone has an issue with certain ingredients. From breakfast offerings to delectable desserts, Canadian Living and Natrel are excited to showcase a variety of tempting lactose-free recipes that everyone can enjoy. You'll find the winning entries from Natrel's Deliciously Lactose Free contest as well as a variety of others.

This exclusive in-depth section is also packed with practical information, health tips and articles that are designed to give you a better understanding on everything from common digestive issues to lactose intolerance.

A tall glass of cold milk. For some people it is a delicious part of their daily lives, something that they consume regularly as part of a healthy diet. But for an estimated 7 million Canadians, that glass of milk is associated with pain and discomfort. That is because they suffer from lactose intolerance. But dealing with the condition doesn’t necessarily mean having to say good-bye to the great taste of milk.

Lactose Intolerance – where does it come from?

Milk products contain a natural sugar that is called lactose. When a person drinks a glass of milk or eats a bowl of ice cream, the body produces an enzyme called lactase that breaks down the sugar so that it can be absorbed. But people who are lactose intolerant, don’t have enough of the lactase enzyme to break down the lactose. As a result, the undigested sugars ferment in the intestines creating gas and acid. People generally start feeling symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and painful cramps anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours after they have consumed dairy products.

Found on the inner wall of the intestines, lactase is usually present during the first years of a baby’s life while breast-feeding and drinking milk are essential components of its diet. As the body matures and begins consuming a more varied diet, the production of lactase is gradually reduced. Every person’s tolerance of lactose is different and a wide variety of factors including generic and cultural backgrounds can affect one’s tolerance to consuming dairy products.

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