lactose intolerance Archives - Lifelab Testing

Dragonfruit Cheesecake – Weekend Treats

This dragonfruit cheesecake is a great vegan-friendly option for when you and the family get those post dinner cravings. A unique dairy-free recipe, its a cheesecake that even the lactose intolerant among us can enjoy free from worry. Its devoid of all the most common allergens except for nuts.



  • 110g walnuts
  • 280g Medjool dates 
  • 30g cocoa powder 
  • pinch of salt


  • 175g chopped dragonfruit
  • 125g raspberries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup


  • 300g raw cashews, soaked overnight, then drained & rinsed
  • 230g coconut cream 
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 350g brown rice syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of 1 lemon


1. Line an 8×8 inch tray with baking paper and set aside. 

2. Add the walnuts, cocoa powder, dates, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until it forms a dough. 

3. Use your fingers or the back of a large spoon to press the dough evenly into the bottom of the baking tray. 

4. Place the tray in the fridge while you prepare the cheesecake filling. 

5. Add the dragonfruit, raspberries, and maple syrup to a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes until the fruit breaks down into a syrup. Set the pan aside for later. 

6. Blend the cashews, coconut oil, coconut cream, brown rice syrup, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice together in the food processor until smooth. 

7. Pour your cheesecake mixture into the baking tray, spreading evenly. 

8. Next, add dollops of the dragonfruit sauce on top of the cheesecake mixture. Using a knife, start making swirls through the cheesecake layer until you achieve the desired marble look. 

9. Store in the freezer for 2-4 hours to firm up the cheesecake.

10. Can be served frozen, or thawed for 10-15 minutes for a softer texture. 

Lactose Intolerance at Christmas

Christmas is a whirlwind of presents, food, and drink. For many people, it is a non-stop conveyor belt of social events, family visits and car journeys. All the while you’re making the most of the “it’s Christmas” excuse to gorge on all of your favourite foods. For the general population, this isn’t a problem, but if you’re living with lactose intolerance, you have to think twice before letting loose.

There are so many foods that are entirely off-limits for those with lactose intolerance, here we take a look at a few which might make you more sympathetic to anyone you know living with this condition.

Mince Pies

It’s almost considered the best practice to always have a box of mince pies in the house ready for all visitors to have with a brew. When it comes to snacks at this time of year, it doesn’t get much more festive than the humble mince pie. However, for people living with lactose intolerance, a mince pie represents the potential for diarrhoea, bloating and headaches. The majority of pre-packaged mince pies contain butter which will trigger or aggravate symptoms of lactose intolerance. Fortunately, there are plenty of lactose-free recipes on the internet.

Irish Cream 

Brands such as Baileys have successfully established Irish cream drinks as a traditionally festive drink in recent years. Irish coffees are one of the most popular drinks at pubs and restaurants up and down the country at Christmas. Still, this incredibly tasty drink is yet another trigger food for people living with lactose intolerance. Baileys do offer a dairy-free option which is something to bear in mind for friends struggling with this condition.

Mashed Potatoes

Everyone has their own “secret” recipe for the best mashed potatoes ever. But, in truth, it often boils down to the addition of either butter or milk to make it creamy. While this makes for an incredibly rich, tasty mash, it is yet another example of one of the most popular Christmas foods being off-limits. When you’re preparing your amazing mashed potato, consider whether your recipe may be excluding someone from enjoying their Christmas dinner.


By this point, you’re probably wondering what on earth people with lactose intolerance get to eat. Well, it gets worse. Chocolate is loaded with dairy and, therefore, lactose. Chocolate is often the gift people turn to when they have exhausted all other ideas. So consider this when you’re buying that secret Santa selection box.

The Importance of Intolerance Testing 

For many people, they could be experiencing the symptoms of lactose intolerance and not identified that as the cause or they may be suffering from another food sensitivity. The good news is that you can diagnose your personal intolerances with a test from Lifelab Testing.

Scrumptious Coconut Truffles – Weekend Treats

These coconut-based sweets are almost guilt-free. You may have noticed that a lot of vegan treats make use of coconut or nuts (or both!), but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same! And besides, who doesn’t love the taste of coconut?

They’re vegan (and, hence, dairy-free) and take no baking, so you can get your little ones involved without worrying about any burns. But the best part of this recipe is that it’s straightforward, with only four steps before you’ve got some yummy nibbles to hand.

Quick note: This recipe does contain nuts, for those of you who are allergic or intolerant, though you may be able to substitute for another butter.


  • 30g coconut flour 
  • 30g almond butter 
  • 60ml / 30g cup applesauce
  • 45ml Tbsp water 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 12 drops liquid stevia extract
  • 3 Tbsp reduced-fat shredded coconut


1. Combine the coconut flour and almond butter in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. 

2. Add in applesauce, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and stevia. Mix thoroughly. 

3. Next, scoop out the dough and roll it into equal balls. 

4. Coat each ball with shredded coconut and enjoy. 

As I said, it’s super simple — a wonderful treat for the lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant and vegans among you. But you don’t have to have special dietary requirements to enjoy them! 

You chocoholics can substitute the cinnamon for cocoa or cacao powder if you’d prefer a chocolatey taste. If you have any more substitutes, feel free to get in touch and comment below. We love to hear your recommendations.

How Do I Know If I Have Lactose Intolerance?

Between 30 and 50 million adults have Lactose Intolerance making it quite common. The question is, are you lactose intolerant?

Several different symptoms come with a lactose intolerance, and they usually occur within a few hours of consumption. Below are a few symptoms that may indicate an issue if they coincide with eating products that contain lactose.


It makes sense that consuming foods you’re intolerant to would disrupt your digestive system and lactose can have a real impact on your bathroom trips. Diarrhoea after lactose is an indicator of an issue and can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Stomach Cramps and Pains

As well as diarrhoea, people with lactose intolerance will often experience extreme stomach cramps. The gases produced by the stomach fermentation process cause this pain. The pain and bloating experience is not related to the amount of lactose imbibed, but the level of intolerance the individual has.

pile of cheese causes lactose intolerance


If you’re passing infrequent, hard stools or are having to strain excessively, you are likely experiencing constipation. Bacteria ferment the undigested lactose in the stomach, which produces methane gas and this gas is thought to slow down the movement of food through the gut. Constipation is less likely than diarrhoea but is still a potential symptom.

Other potential symptoms

Other symptoms that have possible ties to lactose intolerance include:

  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Brain Fog
  • Eczema
  • Joint Pain

Though they have not been proven as established symptoms, they have been reported frequently in case studies.

Other intolerances or allergies cause all of the above symptoms. To establish what might be causing the above symptoms for you, you should take an intolerance test.

Are lactose intolerance, dairy intolerance, and dairy allergy the same?

The long and short of it is, no. Despite being quite different (especially in how they affect the body), the terminology used for allergies and intolerances is frequently applied interchangeably. Subsequently, they require specific testing methods.

How are they tested?

While a milk allergy and a milk intolerance are immune-mediated requiring blood allergy testing or intolerance testing, lactose intolerance is enzyme-mediated meaning symptoms occur due to an insufficiency of the enzyme lactase and in this case, a breath test is required.

In milk allergy testing and milk intolerance testing, your blood is tested for antibodies, IgE and IgG respectively, which your body creates against the proteins in the milk.

Lactose intolerance is the inability to break down the sugar element, lactose, in the milk due to an insufficiency of the enzyme lactase. This results in the production of hydrogen and methane gases. These are exhaled and levels can be tested to identify the condition.

What are the symptoms?

All three conditions can result in potentially debilitating symptoms such as bloating, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhoea. But it’s milk allergy that has the potential to be life-threatening.

In most people, allergies result in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, swelling of the lips/mouth, itchy lips/mouth or vomiting, but for some, they can be as severe as an anaphylactic shock which can be fatal. If you suspect you or a family member has an allergy to milk then allergy testing is highly recommended, particularly if you, or they, also have asthma.

Living with Lactose Intolerance, Milk Intolerance or a Milk Allergy

The dietary implications of these conditions depend on which one you’re suffering from. With milk allergy, it’s recommended that you avoid all milk products on an on-going basis. In the case of milk intolerance, your results may indicate that you are intolerant to certain milk products but not others. For example, milk but not cheddar cheese.

This because of the varying levels of proteins and bacteria in different milk products. We’d recommend a 4-week initial elimination period. Following this, you may be able to successfully reintroduce the items, but this is highly individual, and many people choose to keep them out of their diet.

With lactose intolerance, it isn’t always necessary to remove all milk products, because certain milk products, such as aged hard cheese, butter or probiotic-rich plain yoghurt have very little lactose in them, but this depends upon the severity of your lactose intolerance.

To summarise the crucial differences in these conditions; milk allergy and milk intolerance produce antibodies against proteins in the food and can, therefore, be tested using IgE antibody allergy testing or IgG intolerance testing. Lactose intolerance is an insufficiency of the enzyme lactase resulting in the inability to break down the milk’s sugar and can be tested for via a breath test.

If you suspect your symptoms relate to a milk allergy or milk intolerance take a look at our range of Lifelab testing kits.

What Can You Digest If You Have Lactose Intolerance?

We’ve got a legen-dairy read for you! We’ve put together a list of the tastiest substitutes for lactose intolerance sufferers. We know how difficult coping with lactose intolerance can be and we’re here to offer you all the help and advice we can in order to help you lead a trouble-free life. Now wouldn’t that ‘brie’ good?

Let’s start with the basics; what is Lactose Intolerance?

People often think that having lactose intolerance is the same as having an IgG4 intolerance reaction to milk or dairy products. Well, this isn’t the case. Lactose intolerance is quite a common digestive problem in which the body is unable to digest lactose; Lactose is the sugar that is mainly found in milk and dairy products. This is because your body has a deficiency of a certain enzyme known as lactase. The job of this enzyme is to break down the sugars that are found in milk and dairy products.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance

There are many symptoms that come from suffering from lactose intolerance and normally these will occur a few hours after the product containing lactose has been consumed. Some symptoms include;

The severity of the above symptoms and when they may occur will all depend on the amount of lactose that has been consumed. Symptoms and severity of will differ from one person to the next as somebody may be able to ingest a glass of milk and see no symptoms whereas somebody may not even be able to handle the milk in their tea or coffee.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be similar to those of IBS and a milk protein intolerance which is why people are often confused. If you are suffering from the above symptoms, then be sure to see your GP to seek further advice.

Substitute foods for lactose intolerance sufferers

So, suffering from lactose intolerance doesn’t have to be a bad thing, in fact, there are some really yummy alternatives available so you can still enjoy all the dairy treats that you’re craving.

Look at some of the substitutes we recommend below;

Soy Milk – Milk contains calcium which is one of the most important nutrients that we require. As milk is not an option for lactose intolerance sufferers, soy milk is a fantastic alternative.  

Almond/Oat Milk – This is a great substitute to ensure you’re still receiving good amounts of magnesium and vitamin E.

Yoghurt – Although yoghurt is made from milk, it contains much less lactose with active bacterial cultures. The symptoms may be less when consuming yoghurt as most of the lactose will have been broken down by the good bacteria in yoghurt.

Green Vegetables – These are a fantastic alternative source for calcium and many other antioxidants.

Fish – Again, this is a great substitute for calcium and omega fatty acids.

Fermented Cheese – Cheese is known to have less lactose than some other dairy products. Hard and aged cheeses are ok to be included in your diet (if your symptoms are manageable) for a source of calcium and protein. 

Making the necessary changes to your diet means that you will still be receiving the nutrients you need from dairy products, so you won’t be missing out.

What’s next; a Lifelab Testing kit?

We don’t specifically test for Lactose Intolerance as we test for immune-mediated intolerances not digestive-mediated, but this doesn’t mean we can’t help you on your journey to a symptom-free life. With one of our at-home blood testing kits delivered straight to your door, we can help you narrow down what the cause of your symptoms may be before you come to the conclusion that you are suffering from Lactose Intolerance. Visit our website to find out more. Click here to read about the breakthrough for people suffering from Coeliac Disease.