A man who served his girlfriend a pasta dish with heavy cream despite her lactose intolerance is being panned online.
The man, u/Ragenthrowaway432, shared his story to the popular Reddit forum r/AmITheA**hole, earning 7,100 upvotes and 3,300 comments for his post, “[Am I the A**hole] (M25) for not “catering” to my GF’s intolerance to lactose? (F22)?”
The original poster (OP) says his girlfriend’s lactose intolerance is new, but severe. It’s worst with yogurt and milk, but other dairy products give her horrible gas and a “sick feeling in her throat.” She’s understandably cut all dairy out of her diet, and while the OP says he’s not complained, it does make cooking and eating out difficult due to her limitations.
While they don’t live together, they have a standing date at her house on Wednesdays and on Sundays at his. They usually cook for each other on these days, but OP says that her cooking hasn’t been as good lately due to the non-dairy substitutions—but he understands the reason.
But when it was his turn to cook for her, he made her a pasta dish with a sauce made from heavy cream. Though he did warn her beforehand that she should take a Lactaid tablet, she said she didn’t want the problems with gas. He countered that the meal was difficult to make and that while he didn’t mind eating what she cooked on Wednesdays, he didn’t want to change his habits for her.
“A lot of Dairy free alternatives don’t taste as good (dairy free cheese is awful) & I don’t see a point in changing my groceries for one meal when she can just take a Lactaid pill,” u/Ragenthrowaway wrote.
She instead left early in tears.
Lactose intolerance is often called a dairy allergy, but that’s not accurate. A lactose intolerance means that a person is unable to digest lactose because their digestive system doesn’t make the enzyme required, lactase, according to WebMD. An allergy, on the other hand, means that a person’s immune system tries to attack the proteins in dairy. An allergy can result in rashes, trouble breathing or even a loss of consciousness, WebMD says.
With lactose intolerance, there are five major symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic: diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, gas and bloating. While the symptoms may sound minor, they can cause intense pain. One woman was hospitalized when a coffee shop ignored her request for oat milk. However, another man who had an upset stomach after eating ice cream merely thought he had lactose intolerance; it turned out to be a cancerous growth.
Though there is no cure for lactose intolerance, there are dietary supplements—like the aforementioned Lactaid—available that can lessen the severity of symptoms, however it may not help 100 percent of the time. The best course of action is to cut dairy out of one’s diet, however that only works if the person with lactose intolerance sticks to the plan.
Reddit bashed the man for ignoring the cause of his girlfriend’s pain.
“[You’re the A**hole]. I am lactose intolerant,” u/danger_caterpillar said in the top-rated comment with over 23,300 upvotes, before laying out five reasons why he was wrong:
- “Heavy cream is not a light lactose situation. It isn’t like cheese powder in kraft mac n cheese. It is the real deal and knocks you out.
- “Lactaid pills aren’t a catch all. They can help somewhat but they don’t always just fix it.
- “Gas can HURT. Constant, excessive gas can be difficult to live with.
- “Have you thought about the possibility that she may be downplaying symptoms like explosive diarrhea because she’s embarrassed? Is she avoiding getting diarrhea at your place or while traveling home? These are things severely lactose intolerant people think about all the time.
- “It isn’t that hard to substitute stuff. You could have made the pasta and the sauce separately and popped a can of spaghetti sauce for her.
“Lastly, If she is being this strict with it, this condition is hurting her and making her feel very sick. Certain foods give her pain and discomfort that pills alone can’t always fix. You should respect that,” they added.
“This! I’m lactose intolerant and the gas is really painful sometimes. Plus, a lactaid tablet might help me with something that has a little bit of cheese on but a whole sauce made of cream is going to get me regardless of what enzymes I take,” u/KnittyKitty_91 agreed.
“I am lactose intolerant and missing my gallbladder. ANY food nowadays with fats, oil, lactose, etc. Can cause me to be rollling screaming gas pain. I FEEL where the problem food is in my digestive tract. Then i am married to the bathroom for hours. I feel so embarrassed afterwards, especially at guest house because it can happen within 30 minutes of eating,” u/CurlyMacabre added.
“[You’re the A**hole]. Lactose intolerance/allergies can be debilitating and dangerous. And a lactaid pill is not an excuse to eat things with dairy in it whenever, but for situations where you can’t avoid dairy. Also, continuing to eat dairy or any food that you have an allergy/intolerance to can cause leaky gut syndrome, IBS, and other issues that can make it so that your girlfriend ends up losing parts of her small and or large intestine,” u/Corsetbrat said, adding that they had over 20 years experience in the field of nutrition.
The story has a happy ending. After reading all the responses, u/Ragenthrowaway432 realized he was wrong and has apologized to his girlfriend.
“I complained [because] the switch to dairy free has been hard but I’m sure it’s a lot worse for her,” he wrote.
Newsweek reached out to u/Ragenthrowaway432 for comment.