Why your morning smoothie might be making you bloat

By Chloe McLeod, leading Australian dietitian

Jul 17, 2019
Why your morning smoothie might be making you bloat

Is lactose sensitivity the reason you have a tummy ache in the morning? Here’s how much dairy you can actually have

Australians are a nation of milk lovers and the benefits of consuming dairy regularly go beyond bone strength. Did you know consuming dairy daily can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes?[1] Consuming dairy milk from cows is an excellent sources of calcium, protein, vitamins A and D and B12, but with approximately 800,000 Australians[2] having a reduced ability to digest lactose, many people may not be receiving the nutrients they need for overall health.

Bloating and abdominal discomfort are common symptoms of lactose intolerance. Yet, discussing that ‘I look 6 months pregnant but I only drank a smoothie’ situation can be difficult, and yes, potentially as uncomfortable as the bloating itself!

If you’re one of those people who regularly feels uncomfortable after their meals, read on. While there could be a number of causes for bloating, it’s also possible one very simple reason is behind that bloat – lactose.

First of all, what is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance occurs when there is a deficiency in the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose. Lactase is produced by cells in the small intestine. If lactose is consumed by someone with lactose intolerance, bloating, flatulence, nausea and diarrhea can occur within 30 minutes (or longer) from consumption. Whilst some people are highly intolerant to lactose, others experience less severe symptoms upon consumption, with that feeling of heaviness or bloating sometimes hanging around for much of the day.

What can you do if you think you might be sensitive to lactose?

If your symptoms match a sensitivity to lactose, it’s recommended that you visit a dietitian or GP first to get a professional opinion, particularly if you are experiencing more severe symptoms. One of the first things your dietitian is likely to do is encourage you to swap to lactose free dairy products, such as Zymil. These products contain all the goodness of your usual dairy products (particularly calcium, B12 and protein), but minus the lactose. If this fixes the bloat, you’re in luck, what an easy fix to such an uncomfortable problem!

So what next?

There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your morning smoothie sans bloat, by simply making the switch to a lactose free milk!

Zymil lactose free milk makes an absolutely delicious morning smoothie – or ‘elite’ as my taste tester told me! Try out my recipe below:

2 cups Zymil Lactose Free Milk
1 banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 scoop lactose free vanilla protein
1 handful almonds

Blend all ingredients until smooth, and serve into two cups.

Serves 2

Without the presence of lactose, Zymil is the dairy milk choice that’s easier to digest*, with all the goodness of regular dairy milk.

Please note that if you are experiencing more severe symptoms, it’s a good idea to take a pit stop at your GP. They can then refer you on to a dietitian to help work through any intolerances, and gastroenterologist who can undertake any further investigation that may be needed.

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[1] Heart Foundation, https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/dairy-foods
[2] Roy Morgan 2016, http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6673-lactose-intolerance-on-rise-among-australian-women-201602152253
[3] Genetics Home Reference, Lactose Intolerance, 2019, https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/lactose-intolerance
[4] NHS, Lactose Intolerance – Diagnosis, 2019, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lactose-intolerance/diagnosis/

* As part of a healthy varied diet, consuming Zymil products instead of regular dairy products helps to ease digestion in those who are sensitive to lactose.

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Chloe McLeod
Accredited Practicing Dietitian

Chloe McLeod