Weighing In: If I have galactosemia, how can I lose weight?

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • Question: I was born with Galactosemia, I want a diet plan to help me lose weight. A lot of food plans show diary products, which I can not have.

    Heather: For people who aren’t familiar with this condition, galactosemia is the inability to metabolize the simple sugar galactose. When people with the condition consume galactose, a dangerous substance accumulates in the body. This substance can cause damage to the liver, central nervous system and other body systems.

    Galactose is part of lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. This means that people with galactosemia should avoid milk and other products that include galactose as an ingredient.
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    People with galactosemia should also avoid soybeans, peaches, lentils, liver, brains and breads or cereals containing milk or cream cheese. You should also avoid fresh blueberries and honeydew melon. It is imperative that you read food labels when selecting pre-packaged foods. Foods labeled low lactose are still not safe for people with galactosemia.

    The good news is that galactosemia should not stop you from losing weight. If you focus on eating foods made from fresh ingredients instead of processed foods, you shouldn’t have a problem avoiding galactose while eating a healthy diet. In place of milk, try drinking raw soymilk, which is broken down into glucose and fructose. It does not contain galactose. It is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol and part of a heart healthy diet.  

    You can still eat a diet that is rich in lean meats, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Focus on flavoring your foods with herbs and spices and using monounsaturated fats like olive and canola oil instead of oils high in saturated fat.

    If you’re following a diet plan that includes milk products, you can switch that food item out with something equivalent in calories. Most diet plans include skim milk or low-fat yogurt, which have about 80 calories per serving, or one cup. You can choose to substitute raw soymilk or choose an extra piece of fruit or starch, which also have between 60-80 calories.

    Because you aren’t able to consume milk products, it is likely that you are not getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Consider taking a supplement or choosing foods that are enriched with calcium and vitamin D.
Published On: December 07, 2007