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Ask the experts: Calcium and lactose intolerance

Q: "I'm concerned that by eliminating dairy products containing lactose, I may not be getting enough calcium. How can I make sure I get enough from other sources?"

(Name not supplied)

A: The recommended dietary intake (RDI) of calcium for most adults is 1000mg per day. If you can't have dairy, make sure to have other calcium-rich foods, for example:

  • small tin sardines (500mg+)
  • 1 cup calcium-enriched soy milk (300mg)
  • 1 cup tofu (275mg)
  • 1 cup fortified breakfast cereal (200-400mg)

Other foods like almonds, sesame seeds, green vegetables and whole grain bread contain small amounts of calcium. When these are added to several serves of calcium-rich foods in your diet, they help you achieve your calcium goal each day. However, you would not be able to meet your requirements from these sources alone – 10 almonds have only 30mg of calcium, and a cup of broccoli has less than 60mg.

If you are having trouble getting enough calcium in your diet, you may need to discuss a supplement with your doctor or dietitian.

First published: Dec 2008



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