Ask the experts: Foods containing lactose
Q. “Which foods have lactose in them? I’ve heard it’s okay to have hard cheese when you’re lactose intolerant. Are there some dairy products I am able to eat?”(Name not supplied)
A. Foods with the highest lactose content are milk, ice cream, yoghurt and cream. Cottage cheese, cream cheese and feta contain more lactose than other cheeses; matured or ripened cheeses such as camembert, cheddars or parmesan contain virtually no lactose.
People’s reaction to lactose is dose dependent, which means the more you have, the more severe the symptoms. Many lactose-intolerant adults can drink 100-200ml of milk without symptoms, so experiment with your own intake and see what you can tolerate. It’s likely you’ll be able to eat cheese, especially hard cheese, and yoghurt.
The amount of lactose in yoghurt varies widely, but yoghurts with added cultures like acidophilus have the greatest lactase activity, so these yoghurts are more readily tolerated. Other foods can slow digestion. Milk with breakfast cereal may be more easily tolerated than milk by itself.