Is Lactose-Free Healthier?
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 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 a lot of people pay premium for lactose-free food because they believe it’s healthier than regular dairy products.
Or are they? 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 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 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 lactose intolerant African-American teenagers were given a dairy-rich diet, their colons slowly adapted to the lactose influx. 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.
If you are a sufferer, check your options, as detailed above. It’s likely that you can save some money without turning your colon into a rollercoaster.
Picture courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
I always suspected that was the case! Interesting post!
Thank you, Jess! 🙂
My wife drinks goats milk for her lactose intolerance, it is naturally lactose free.
Problem solved! 😀
Indeed! BTW, the Romans too preferred goats milk to cow milk, so she is in great company! 🙂
(I’m such a history nerd! :D)
Well, well, well… How can I put it?
I know, short and painful, mwahaha
Cow milk: 4.6 g lactose / 100 ml
Goat milk: 4.1 g lactose / 100 ml
Better drop the charges cos the poor old lactose is def not guilty.
I just checked this and you are right.
From what I understand, almost all mammals become lactose intolerant after weaning. Humans are different as some have developed the lactose persistent ability with evolution. This varies from place to place, but it is not a high percentage, most humans do not do as well with dairy.
At this point, I feel that dairy may not be the best thing for us even if we can tolerate it.
Just use goats milk products, you can get cheese, butter, pretty much any dairy product you want from goats.
Problem solved! 😀
I would really like to know where this disinformation came from..
Sorry, but the milk from all mammals (including humans) has lactose in it.
There may be less, so if your intollerance is very mild it may be enough to matter. No dairy product is lactose free unless something has broken down the lactose for you (bacteria in yogurt / hard cheese, or added lactase for anything else).
I think people slapping lactose-free labels onto things are using the same line of reasoning as the people doing that with gluten-free labels.
If your GI tract is fine with them, there is no reason whatsoever to pay more money for gluten or lactose free products.
Personally, I am lactose intollerant, which has become a big source of annoyance. Like many people, my intollerance has gotten worse over time, it was my mid-late 20s before I realized my glass of milk with dinner was causing my angry stomach every night.
As Evil mentioned, many dairy (or pseudo-dairy) products are already lactose free.
Some american cheeses, like those found on a standard fast food burger, are often made with oils (in the US they get labeled “processed cheese food”) so contain no milk in the first place. This also goes for margarines. I can have toast with margarine without issue. While real butter is quite unpleasant.
Any aged hard cheese has no (or virtually no) lactose. The bacteria have already broken the lactose into simpler sugars for you. Low-fat cheddar is actually one of my low-cal-high-protein staples. However, soft cheeses (mozzarella, brie, etc.) are full of lactose. A slice of pizza requires several lactaids for me to eat it comfortably (~20,000+ units of lactase [the enzyme that breaks down lactose] in pill form).
Thats actually a way to test if you are lactose intollerant, or have a milk allergy. If you can take enough lactase to make a class of milk go down fine, then you just need to keep some on hand. Keep in mind that many things in restaurants have cream and/or butter added to make them taste better. When traveling, I always keep some lactase pills on me.
After some research I guess I should clarify :
Why the confusion, then? Goat’s milk – along with all the other animal milks – has a markedly different set of proteins, especially casein proteins, than cow’s milk does. Those with Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) may find that they can tolerate goat’s milk without symptoms. Emphasis on the may. I would not suggest goat’s milk to those severely anaphylactic to cow’s milk. The rest of you with milk allergy, however, and that’s the majority, may be in luck.
So, apparently while it has lactose, it’s lactose safe, at least for my wife…
She can’t take cows milk, but she can use goats milk, cheese, etc
Interesting, I always thought it was due to less lactose, but it’s looking now like something a bit more complicated makes goats milk safer for the lactose intolerant…
I would still advocate anyone lactose intolerant to try goats milk, goats cheese, etc.
It apparently is a common alternative that does work for many…
You still don’t get it, do you? Your wife isn’t lactose (=sugar) intolerant, she is allergic or intolerant to some other component of cow’s milk, probably some protein. BTW, my mom has issues with milk fat, any kind of milk fat, and is not fun.
So, stop spreading the bollocks, please. Apples are not pears even when you pretend very hard.
Wow, touchy touchy! lol
I am not spreading bullocks. I am the one who brought goats milk up in the first place. And it’s worth looking into.
Free speech and all that aside, you really need to calm down. lol
So, you bought up goat milk up in the first place saying that it doesn’t contain lactose while it does, saying that your alegedy lactose-intolerant wife (which she obviously is not), and I am touchy?
No, I am not touchy, I am just intolerant to bollocks, that is. And being a bit evil I would speculate that you make a living from goat hearding on an industrial scale and don’t even have a wife.
Someone didn’t have their morning coffee today… lol
Chill out, it’s just a discussion board, not the Grand Jury…
One correction: lactose is sugar, but not all sugar is lactose.
Exactly. Most of the carbohydrates we eat are combinations of 3 monosaccharides (“single-sugar”): glucose, galactose and fructose.
Lactose is a disaccharide (“two-sugar”) made up of 1 galactose and 1 glucose.
Cow milk has lactose, galactose, glucose and some other oligosaccharides (“few-sugar”, ~3-10 monosaccharides).
Thought you already had an article spelling that out, then I found it right after posting 😉
At some point I’ll need a guide to my own website 😉
Lactose-intolerance is not the only reason to not drink cowmilk. Vegans don’t drink milk from animals. People have lots of reasons to drink alternative milks.
I simply do not like the taste of cowmilk & it spoils verrrry quickly.
So i keep a few cartons of soymilk to use for breakfast. They store outside the fridge & don’t spoil as fast when opened & in the fridge.
But the taste of the nut milks is better. They are just so expensive. I recently learned to make my own oatmilk. It’s easy & super cheap. Those factories are really ripping us of.
Fair enough. I can’t stand these ersatz milk types to be honest.