Compared to some years ago, lactose-free dairy products nowadays are available everywhere and people eat them assuming they are healthier. But is that really so?
Is Lactose-Free Really Healthier?
Ten years or so ago you probably had to go to specialty stores to get lactose-free products, but today they are available at just about every grocery store.
We of course could have had a surge of lactose-intolerance sufferers coming from nowhere, but apparently people pay premium for lactose-free food simply because they believe it’s healthier than regular dairy products. Unfortunately, for very many buying them is just one huge waste of money:
Even Sufferers Are Ripped Off
But even if you are among the Blacks, Asians or the 10% of Caucasians suffering from this intolerance and need lactose-free products, some still blow unnecessary holes into your wallet.
The biggest rip-off here is cheese. Cheese in general is low in lactose and hard cheeses like Cheddar, aged Gouda or Parmigiano-Reggiano have traces so small they are nearly undetectable. When producers slap “lactose-free” and a premium price on these, they try to make extra money from what’s (not) in there in the first place.
Second, despite being affected by this, it often is still possible for people to digest smaller amounts of lactose without side effects. When the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) investigated how much, they found that 12 g of lactose per day usually don’t cause any problems – that is the equivalent of a glass of milk.
Last but not least it may be possible for you to desensitize yourself to lactose. When in a research project done already more than a decade ago African-American teenagers were given a dairy-rich diet, their colons slowly adapted to this influx of lactose. Other papers came to similar results and you may want to check this with your doctor.
Stay Healthy, But Don’t Waste Your Money
In summary, and as said in the video, if you don’t suffer from lactose intolerance there is little reason for you to buy lactose-free products – they are not healthier nor do they magically make you lose weight. And if you are a sufferer, check your options, as detailed above. It is likely that you can save some money without turning your colon into a rollercoaster.
Picture courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.