Researchers say that people who have difficulty digesting milk products may experience an increase in gas if they consume milk-based powder supplements designed as a meal replacement. About 25% of Americans have lactose intolerance. A condition in which an individual lacks a sufficient supply of an intestinal enzyme critical for the digestion of milk-based foods. Consuming large amounts of lactose can cause such individuals to experience bloating, diarrhoea and flatulence.
While eating solid foods with milk can reduce such reactions, the researchers point out that between 11% and 21% of the Americans who diet each year rely to some degree on low-fat meal replacement supplements. Many such food substitutes contain milk-based powders that users mix with fat-free milk, before drinking as a replacement for a meal.
The researchers found that those who consumed the high-lactose preparation experienced a large increase in intestinal gas. The women passed gas three times as frequently--from about 10 times a day to 30 times a day--compared with those who drank the low lactose mix.