IF YOU’RE lactose intolerant, eating dairy products leaves you with uncomfortable gastro–intestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, flatulence, indigestion, bloating and diarrhoea.

Lactose, also known as milk sugar, is naturally present in all animal milk and dairy products, whether from cows, goats or sheep and is in breast milk and infant formula.

This list showing the lactose content of food may be helpful:

Very high lactose content:

  • Evaporated and condensed milk
  • Cheeses made from whey such as Norwegian brown cheese
  • Yoghurt-coated nuts, raisins, muesli bars – check the labels for lactose in the coating
  • Human breast milk and standard infant formula
  • High energy supplements (whey protein shakes and similar used by sportsmen)
  • Some yoghurt (but see note above)

High lactose content:

  • All animal milk. (Skimmed cow’s milk has more lactose than whole milk. Goat’s milk is slightly lower in lactose than cow’s milk)
  • Buttermilk
  • Some yoghurt (but see note above)
  • Curd cheese and ricotta
  • Cheese spread and processed cheese
  • Some cottage cheese (check label)
  • Ice cream
  • White sauce
  • Custard
  • Milk-based puddings such as rice pudding, crème caramel, baked egg custard etc
  • Milk shakes
  • Milk-based thick soups like leek-&-potato

Moderate lactose content:

  • Cream cheese, some cottage cheese (check label)
  • Cream, crème fraîche, fromage frais
  • Fudge, butterscotch, toffee
  • Medicines in capsule or tablet form where lactose is used as a filler. (It will be listed under ‘Inactive ingredients’ on the label. There are lactose-free alternatives that the pharmacist can recommend)
  • Some dry powder asthma inhalers
  • Sweet’n’Low, Canderel, some other sweeteners (check the label)
  • Dry-roasted peanuts where lactose is used in the coating (check the label)

Low level lactose content:

  • Sour cream
  • Swiss cheese (Emmental, Jarlsberg)
  • English cheeses (Cheddar etc)
  • Brie, Camembert, Mozzarella, Parmesan, most well-aged cheeses
  • Butter and foods made with butter ( homemade pastry, cakes, biscuits)
  • Coffee whitener, milk substitutes (but some brands contain lactose – check the label)

There are also some useful notes on Lactose Intolerance on the Allergy Info and Advice pages of the AllergyBestBuys website here.


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