Ask Leah! The Ingles Dietitian

Sponsored: Living with lactose intolerance

ingles dietitianQUESTION: I have lactose intolerance. Is it better for me to buy goat's milk and cheeses than cow's milk and cheeses?

ANSWER: Lactose is the naturally occurring sugar found in milk from mammals whether cow, sheep or goats. Some individuals have lactose intolerance or acquire this as they grow older. Their bodies do not produce enough of the enzyme (lactase) to help digest the lactose so they have gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Sheep and goats milk have different fat molecules than cow's milk and so some find it easier to digest. You can find lactose-free or lactose reduced cow's milk at Ingles. A new brand of cow's milk called Fairlife, has been specially filtered and has the lactase enzyme added so it is lactose free. 

As far as cheeses, if the cheese is aged, the lactose (milk sugar) will have been consumed during the aging process and so an aged cheese (example: aged Parmesan) should be much better tolerated than a new cheese (example: Mozzarella).

TIP: If you have lactose intolerance eat products with lactose with other foods to lessen the effect or try taking an over-the- counter Lactaid pills that contain the lactase enzyme. 

Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN

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