Does Cheese Have A Lot Of Lactose

Don't Miss

Here’s What Determines The Amount Of Lactose In Cheese

Lactose intolerant? Pros and cons of milk substitutes

Cheese is actually quite low in lactose compared to dairy products like milk, cream, and yogurt. Most contain less than 2 grams per serving , which is far less than the 12 to 13 grams of lactose you get in one serving of milk. Of course, most people don’t just eat 1 ounce of cheese in one sitting, so keep in mind that eating the better part of a cheese plate will probably mean you’re having way more than just 2 grams of lactose.

Interestingly, the cheesemaking process contributes to the amount of lactose. Every cheese goes through a slightly different process, but in general, making cheese basically involves removing whey from milk and then acidifying and salting the remaining curd, says Andy Hatch, cheesemaker and owner at Uplands Cheese. “The manner in which each of these three steps occurs will determine the character of the resulting cheese,” including how much lactose is or isn’t in it, Hatch says.

For example, soft cheeses like brie as well as hard ones like cheddar or Monterey Jack are low in lactose, but they go through two totally different processes, he says. Harder cheeses have the whey drained out of the cheese vat before the curds are packed into cheese forms for pressing. But softer cheeses, like brie and Camembert, don’t have their whey removed until after the curds are put into cheese forms, where “they will slowly drip out of the newly formed cheeses,” Hatch says.

How Is Lactose Intolerance Diagnosed

If you might have lactose intolerance, the docto will ask your symptoms and diet. They might test the breath for hydrogen levels before and after you drink lactose. Normally very little hydrogen gas is detectable in the breath. But undigested lactose in the colon breaks down and makes various gases, including hydrogen.

If you have a hydrogen breath test, you’ll blow into a tube for a beginning sample. Then you’ll swallow a drink with lactose in it, wait a while, and breathe into the tube again. You’ll blow into the tube every half hour for 2 hours to measure hydrogen levels. The levels should go up over time if you have lactose intolerance.

Doctors also can find out if someone can digest lactose by testing for the presence of lactase with an endoscopy. During this procedure, doctors view the inside of the intestines by inserting a long tube with a light and a tiny camera on the end into the mouth.

A doctor can then take tissue samples and pictures of the inside of the gut. The amount of lactase enzyme can be measured in one of these tissue samples.

Nearly 65% Of The Human Population Struggles With Lactose Intolerance

These poor souls try their best to avoid dairy and the physical discomfort that comes with itnot to mention dealing with the uniquely profound emotional distress that comes from feeling like youve been cursed to a life without cheeseor have you?

What is lactose and why are some people intolerant?

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products. In the body, lactose is broken down into simple sugars by an enzyme called lactase. People are lactose intolerant when their bodies dont make enough lactase. Without lactase, the lactose cant be properly digested and causes gastrointestinal distress. Some people are more intolerant than othersit all depends on how much lactase your body is able to make.

Does this mean lactose intolerants can never have cheese?

Were happy to report there are some cheeses that lactose intolerant individuals can still enjoy without gastrointestinal consequence.

While fresher cheeses have a high percentage of lactose, aged cheeses have much of their lactose transformed into less harmful lactic acid. Lactose is also separated and drained off with the whey during the aging process, which brings the lactose percentage down with it.

What cheeses can lactose intolerant folks eat?

Don’t Miss: Is Kraft Mozzarella Cheese Vegetarian

What Are Some Lactose

All hard cheeses are free of lactose, such as cheddar, Asiago, Edam and cotija. Other lactose-free cheeses include fontina, Gouda, Havarti, St. George and enchilado.

Lactose is a form of sugar that milk contains, and because these hard cheeses have very little lactose, they are suitable for lactose-intolerant people. When looking for hard cheese that is free of lactose, customers should pick ones that are dry and crumbly instead of soft. Hard cheeses often have strong, pungent flavors and aromas.

Some cheeses that contain less than 5 grams of lactose per serving include mozzarella, cream cheese and ricotta, which are sometimes suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

Foods That Trigger Lactose Intolerance

A lot of people still believe that butter needs to come ...

Since lactose is the natural sugar found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products, a person with lactose intolerance will experience symptoms any time they consume one of those products.

Foods that commonly trigger lactose intolerance include:

  • Milk
  • Milk-based creamer, half and half

Some people may experience lactose intolerance from consuming certain foods, but not others.

You May Like: How Long Does Babybel Cheese Last After Expiration Date

These Are The Cheeses That Are Generally Lower In Lactose

Aged cheeses, both hard and softlike Parmesan or briecontain so little lactose that it’s virtually undetectable, Sasson says. In fact, things like cheddar and blue cheese can have as little as 0.1 grams of lactose per serving, though it will vary depending on the specific product, brand, or recipe. The key here is the extended aging and fermenting process, which can last for decades in some cases.

Any lactose that remains in a cheese after the whey has been drained will gradually be converted into lactic acid during lengthy aging processes, explains Lisa Sasson, clinical professor of nutrition at New York University. Because of this, the longer the aging process, the less lactose a cheese will have. In fact, Strange says that most cheeses that have been aged for over nine months won’t contain any at all. In one lab test of 121 different dairy products, researchers found that the levels of lactose in Swiss cheese, brie, Limburger, and even feta were so small they couldn’t even be detected.

Here’s Our Advice For Safe Cheese Eating

While it’s true that some cheeses are lower in lactose, it’s important to keep serving sizes in mind. Even a low lactose cheese may screw with your stomach if you eat a ton of it. And the truth is that even among folks with diagnosed lactose intolerance, sensitivity to lactose can vary greatly, Dr. Agarwal explains. Something that barely affects one person could leave another curled up in the fetal position with stomach cramps, which is why Sasson cautions against throwing back a bunch of cheese without giving it a try first. No matter what cheese you’re eating , she recommends tasting a small amount first, then giving yourself time to see how your body reacts.

In general, it’s also best to eat cheese as part of a larger meal whenever you can, because eating it with other foods can make it easier to digest, Sasson says.

And unfortunately, Dr. Agarwal says there isn’t always an easy way to know for sure how much lactose is in a product, unless it’s explicitly marked low-lactose or something similar. So if you’re really not sure how much lactose you should eat, check in with your doctor first.

If you can’t tolerate even a small amount of Parmesan, your problem with dairy might be something elselike a milk allergy. Sasson says that while lactose intolerance isn’t life threatening, a severe allergy definitely can be, so if you’re not sure what you have or just how sensitive you are, talk with your doctor before experimenting with any cheeses.


You May Like: How Long Does Babybel Cheese Last Unrefrigerated

What Makes Cabot Cheeses Naturally Lactose

To start, its important to know that lactose is simply the natural sugar found in milk. To understand how cheese becomes lactose-free, first look to the cheesemaking process. To begin, curd is separated from whey . The curd eventually becomes cheese and the whey is removed . The small amount of lactose that remains in the curd breaks down over time as the cheese ages, resulting in an aged cheese thats naturally lactose-free. So, cheeses that undergo this natural aging process like cheddar contain little to no lactose.

Meal Planning Made Easy

How Much Lactose Is In Milk

What I Do with TOO MUCH Raw MILK (Preserve Your Dairy for WINTER!)

So, going back to our milks above. Cows milk contains on average 4.8g/100g of lactose whereas sheeps milk is typically around 4.7g/100g and goats milk 4.2g/100g.

Statistically speaking, people who are lactose intolerant start to show symptoms of discomfort when they consume in excess of 12g of lactose. Therefore, a glass of milk is often within the limits of what their body can handle.

More Cheese Science posts

Recommended Reading: Can I Eat Grilled Cheese After Tooth Extraction

Know Your Lactose Limit

If you’re lactose intolerant, you can still eat foods with lactose — in moderation. The key is to know your limit. Keep a food diary, write down when, what, and how much you ate, and how it made you feel. You should see a pattern emerge and you will learn how much or how little lactose you can have. Then, stick to your limit.

How Is Lactose Intolerance Treated

People can manage lactose intolerance by not drinking as much milk and eating fewer dairy products. Most can eat a small amount of dairy. But they need to eat it with other foods that don’t contain lactose and not eat too much dairy at once.

You may find that other dairy products, such as yogurt and cheeses, are easier to digest than milk. Lactose-free milk is also a great way to get calcium in the diet without the problems. It can also help to keep a food diary to learn which foods you can or can’t tolerate.

A lactase enzyme supplement can help too. Taking this before you eat foods that contain dairy helps your body digest the lactose sugar in dairy and prevent pain, cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Also Check: Domino’s Philly Cheese Steak Sauce

Make Better Cheese Choices

With lactose intolerance, you can still eat cheese, but choose carefully. Hard, aged cheeses like Swiss, parmesan, and cheddars are lower in lactose. Other low-lactose cheese options include cottage cheese or feta cheese made from goat or sheep’s milk. Certain types of cheeses — especially soft or creamy ones like ricottta and cream cheese — are higher in lactose. If you want to avoid dairy completely, try lactose-free and dairy-free cheeses.

What Is The Lactose Content Of Different Dairy Products

Why does Swiss cheese have holes?

The amount of lactose in dairy foods varies between products, ranging from 15g in a cup of milk to virtually zero in hard or mature cheeses.

Most dairy foods contain the natural sugar lactose, however some dairy foods contain very little or no lactose. Hard cheeses, such as cheddar and Parmesan, as well as matured cheeses such as brie, camembert and feta contain virtually no lactose because of the way they are made. Yoghurt contains good bacteria, which helps break down the lactose. The table below shows the lactose content of some common dairy foods.1


*The lactose content in yogurt decreases each day, even while it sits in the fridge, because the natural bacteria present in yoghurt use up the lactose for energy.

If you have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, there is no need to cut out all dairy foods from your diet, but rather adjust your lactose intake according to your own tolerance levels. In addition to hard and mature cheeses as well as yoghurt, the Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest that up to 250ml of milk may be well tolerated if broken up throughout the day and consumed with other foods. 2 You can also try building up your tolerance by starting with small amounts of milk and gradually increasing your intake.


Read Also: Does Babybel Have To Be Refrigerated

What Else Should I Know

Here are some tips for dealing with lactose intolerance:

  • Choose lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk.
  • Take a lactase enzyme supplement just before you eat dairy products. These can be taken in drops or tablets and even added directly to milk.
  • When you do drink milk or eat lactose-containing foods, eat other non-lactose foods at the same meal to slow digestion and avoid problems.
  • Drink juices that are fortified with calcium.
  • Eat a variety of dairy-free foods that are rich in calcium, such as broccoli, beans, tofu, or soy milk. Consider hard cheeses such as cheddar, which are lower in lactose.
  • Yogurts that contain active cultures are easier to digest and much less likely to cause lactose problems.
  • Learn to read food labels. Lactose is added to some boxed, canned, frozen, and prepared foods like bread, cereal, lunchmeats, salad dressings, mixes for cakes and cookies, and coffee creamers. Be aware of certain words that might mean the food has lactose in it: butter, cheese, cream, dried milk, milk solids, powdered milk, and whey, for example.

What About Calcium

Dairy foods are the best source of calcium, a mineral that’s important for bone growth. Because teens need about 1,300 milligrams of calcium each day, experts recommend that even those with lactose intolerance include some dairy in their diet.

You also can eat non-dairy products like:

  • calcium-fortified juice or soy milk
  • green, leafy vegetables like broccoli, collard greens, kale, and turnip greens
  • beans
  • dried fruit
  • tofu

Talking to a registered dietitian is a good idea. They’re trained in nutrition and can you come up with eating alternatives and develop a well-balanced diet that provides lots of calcium for developing strong bones. Some teens might need calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Recommended Reading: Can You Melt Babybel Cheese

Can I Make Lactose

Mermaid toast has become a trendy treat, as this colorful and fun dish is as enjoyable to look at as eat. Basically, this is a piece of toast with cream cheese, often dyed with fun rainbow colors. While this might be a fun dish, the cream cheese may not be friendly to those who suffer from lactose intolerance. While coconut based alternatives might work, using almond based cream cheese is a far better option. The creamy texture of almond cream cheese really works well with this dish, and is worth the extra money. If you have never tried unicorn toast, there are plenty of fun and colorful recipes available online.

Some Dairy Protein Powders

Does Lactose Intolerance Mean I Have To Avoid All Milk Dairy Foods?

Choosing a protein powder can be tricky for those who are lactose intolerant.

This is because protein powders are usually made from the proteins in milk whey, which is the lactose-containing, liquid part of milk.

However, the amount found in whey protein powders can vary, depending on how the whey is processed.

There are three main types of whey protein powder:

  • Whey concentrate: Contains around 7980% protein and a small amount of lactose .
  • Whey isolate: Contains around 90% protein and less lactose than whey protein concentrate .
  • Whey hydrolysate: Contains a similar amount of lactose as whey concentrate, but some of the proteins in this powder have already been partially digested .

The best choice for lactose-sensitive individuals is probably whey isolate, which contains the lowest levels.

Nevertheless, the lactose content can vary considerably between brands, and most people have to experiment to see which protein powder brand works best for them.


Diary protein powders have been processed to remove a lot of their lactose. However, whey protein concentrate contains more of it than whey isolates, which may be a better choice for sensitive individuals.

Don’t Miss: Dominos Philly Cheesesteak

Lactose Intolerance And You

If you have lactose intolerance, it means that your body has trouble breaking down lactose, the natural sugar in milk. You may be able to tolerate some dairy products, but you will also want to stick to a safe lactose intolerance diet. “Avoidance is the best treatment for lactose intolerance, but you need to be sure to get enough calcium in your diet,” says Amy E. Barto, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. “You can do this by supplementing your diet with the right food choices.” Find out about the smart and delicious food swaps you can make that will help you avoid lactose intolerance symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

How To Make Fresh Lactose

If you want to make lactose-free mozzarella at home, youll need a few things to get started. The basic ingredients are milk, salt, rennet, and citric acid. Youll also need a large pot, cheesecloth, food-safe rubber gloves, and a thermometer. Of course, you need to use lactose-free milk in order to produce lactose-free mozzarella. But this is basically the key. You find lactose-free milk in almost every grocery store. It is available from Lactaid, a brand specialized in lactose-free products, but also many other brands produce lactose-free milk.

Add your fresh lactose-free mozzarella to salads, wrap it in meat, or throw it on a pizza. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t Miss: Does Babybel Cheese Melt

Lactose Intolerant What Can You Eat

If youre lactose intolerant, you may cringe at the thought of eating dairy products.

But theres really no need. In this day and age, there are plenty of nutrient-rich dairy products you can enjoy, without suffering the all-too-familiar consequences.

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about lactose intolerance.

What is lactose?

Lactose is the naturally-occurring sugar found in milk and most dairy products.

What does it mean to be lactose intolerant?

Most people have an enzyme in their gut called lactase, which helps to break down lactose during digestion. People with lactose intolerance dont have enough lactase to fully digest lactose, so eating dairy products can cause digestive distress like stomach aches, bloating, gas and diarrhea.

Is lactose intolerance the same as being allergic to milk?

No. These two conditions are completely different. Lactose intolerance refers specifically to the lactose component of milk, whereas milk allergies are a reaction to the protein component of milk. Heres more on the difference between an intolerance and allergy.

Do you have to avoid all dairy if youre lactose intolerant?
What can you eat if youre lactose intolerant?
  • Yogurt. Most people with lactose intolerance can eat yogurt. The good bacteria found in yogurt will help digest the lactose for you. Choose a high quality yogurt with very few ingredients or Greek yogurt, which has very little lactose.
  • What foods should be avoided?

    Popular Articles

    More Recipes Like This