Only available in two or three states nationally (NY, Florida and Texas, what’s that about Lactaid?) I could barely hope that the Lactaid ice cream would be as delicious as it was or that this lactose intolerant girl’s stomach would tolerate it. But it was a big yes on both accounts.
A few years ago I became lactose intolerant. That means, I aged out of producing the enzyme lactase, the one responsible for breaking down the sugars in milk (that’s the lactose). More on lactose intolerance from the Lactaid site:
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest a sugar called lactose that's found mainly in milk and dairy products. Normally, the small intestine produces an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down lactose into two simple sugars (galactose and glucose) so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. People whose bodies don't make enough lactase can't fully digest lactose, causing mild to severe side effects within 30 minutes to two hours of eating dairy. About 75% of the world's population is lactose intolerant. The condition is more common among people of African descent, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans than among those of Northern European descent. It also affects adults more than children, since the body produces less lactase enzyme as people age.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance (which affect 50 million Americans by the way) are: diarrhea, bloating and gas. Lovely, I know.
I haven’t had ice cream since 2005 when I went dairy-free on an elimination diet. Once it was determined through a year of dairy elimination then adding milk back in and seeing the very clear cause and effect, Lactaid milk became my new friend and we’ve been happy ever since.
I had heard about a mythical Lactaid ice cream but hadn’t seen in my local grocers and honestly was so focused on helping sort out my stomach issues that ice cream has been the last thing on my mind.
This past weekend I put it on the forefront of my mind. I bought some vanilla ice cream, because yes, I am also a vanilla girl. And my first bite tasted exactly like Breyer’s ice cream or what I remember Breyer’s tasting like. Flecked with prominent dots of vanilla bean, a very white color (not a French custard style of ice cream), but totally ice creamy and delicious, I was very happy. And the tummy verdict? A couple of gurgles which could be because I haven’t had any ice cream is so long my stomach had forgotten or the corn syrup, which is not a regular part of my diet but it wasn’t enough of a gurgle-a-thon to not have any in the future. Or again the next day.
I contacted Lactaid about their allergen policy as they also make a butter pecan ice cream. They didn’t have an answer but their products are made by Hood Dairies. On the Hood website they had an allergen statement, of sorts:
All of our products are in compliance with the FDA regulations for allergen labeling. All allergens are clearly identified in the ingredient declaration located on the side or back panel of the package.
I had no issues allergy-wise or intolerance-wise and I generally trust that most companies practice good manufacturing practices, most of the time. But that’s me. I encourage you to reach out to Hood or Lactaid and talk to them directly if you have cross contamination questions or concerns. Meanwhile, I’m having another bowl of ice cream.