Below is a chart identifying which cheeses contain lactose and which cheeses are virtually lactose free.
|Virtually Lactose Free||Contains Lactose|
|Use Freely||Use Occasionally||Cottage Cheese (regular)
Processed cheese slices or spreads
Uncreamed or Dry-pressed cottage cheese
|Asiago Port du Salut
Lactose Intolerant – Use an enzyme that contains lactase.
Lactose is the sugar found in dairy products. When an individual is lactose intolerant, they are missing the enzyme, lactase, which is needed to digest the lactose. Simply supplementing with a lactase enzyme prior to eating dairy will assist with digestion.
Dairy Sensitivity – Try consuming goat dairy products vs cow dairy products.
When an individual is sensitive to dairy, they are reacting to casein, which is the protein in dairy. The casein molecule is very similar in structure to the gluten molecule; which is why individuals who are gluten intolerant are often also dairy intolerant; the body mistakes casein for gluten and exhibits an inappropriate delayed response that is often digestive in nature such as bloating or constipation, or other symptoms of increased inflammation such acne or night sweats. Individuals who are sensitive to dairy may find they are able to digest goat cheese easier than cow’s cheese because goat cheese contains a different type of casein that is easier to digest.
Dairy Allergy – Avoid all dairy.
When an individual has a dairy allergy, they experience an immediate allergic reaction that can include hives or a respiratory response that affects breathing. These individuals cannot consume any dairy whatsoever in any form.
What’s Your Goal?
- If you are looking to reduce the overall sugar in your diet, eliminating cheese that contains lactose will help you achieve that goal.
- If you are lactose intolerant, take a lactase enzyme prior to eating or only eat those cheeses that contain less lactose. Note: The virtually free lactose cheeses still contain some lactose so they may still cause some digestive issues.
- If you are sensitive to dairy, simply eating lactose-free dairy products will not help you achieve the goals of weight loss and reduced inflammation; however, eating goat cheese instead of cow’s cheese may allow you to enjoy a little dairy and still achieve results without completely eliminating it. Having limited amounts spaced out a minimum of four days apart helps to improve the body’s ability to digest.
- Some people may be sensitive to dairy as well as be lactose intolerant. These people are best to stick with small amounts of goat cheese and only choose the virtually lactose free cheeses, for example, choose goat cheddar over goat mozzarella or feta, as well as take an enzyme to assist with digestion. Intolerance Complex by Enzyme Science is a good digestive enzyme to help with this.
- Individuals who are lactose intolerant and/or sensitive to dairy are usually OK to consume Kaha Whey Isolate protein powder because whey isolate has most of the lactose and casein removed. Individuals who are very sensitive may need to be careful how much they consume, use it on a rotational basis, or may need to go for periods of time when they are best not to use it.
Dairy is a common food to which many people are sensitive for a few reasons.
- There is so much of it in our diet.
- Extra casein is added to non-dairy foods as a whitening or thickening agent or to add extra protein. Casein on food labels can also be listed as: caseinate, calcium caseinate, ammonia caseinate, magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate and sodium caseinate.
- Extra lactose is added to foods for extra sweetness or to help ingredients that don’t mix well stay together, like oil and water.
Whole foods in their natural state contain the nutrients needed to digest that food. Ingredients that have been extracted from one food and placed in large amounts in another food can be harder to digest as the manmade created food does not contain all the nutrients required to digest it; therefore, the body needs to pull from its own nutrient stores to digest that food. If the manmade created food is eaten frequently or every day, over time, the body becomes nutrient deficient and digestive symptoms, if left unaddressed, converts to weight gain or underweight, neither of which is ideal.
- Donsky, Andrea and Randy Boyer (2011). Unjunk Your Junk Food. New York, NY: Gallery Books.
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