Get the Skinny on Lactose Intolerance

FUELED Wellness with Molly
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

For those who are lactose intolerant, dairy is typically 100% off-limits. But if you love your milk and cheese, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a good chance that you can still eat certain dairy products, without the typical side effects of lactose intolerance.

  • Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in dairy products that requires the enzyme lactase to be digested.


  • Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea.


  • Most people with lactose intolerance can’t tolerate regular cow’s milk, but they may still be able to have foods like yogurt, cheese, and butter without issue, since they’re actually very low in lactose.


  • Check the sugar content of dairy products; if it’s zero, or close to it, that means the product contains zero or close to zero lactose.


5 Dairy Foods Naturally Low in Lactose

  • Frame of reference:
    • 1 cup cow’s milk: 12-13 grams of lactose
    • 1 cup Ultra-Filtered Milk – 6 grams lactose per serving


  • Greek yogurt: 6 grams lactose per 6-7 ounces. Note: The probiotics in yogurt help to digest the lactose for us.


  • Cottage cheese: 3 grams lactose per 4-ounce serving


  • Half & half – trace amounts (less than 0.5 grams lactose per two tablespoons)


  • Aged parmesan cheese – trace amounts (e.g. <0.2 grams lactose per ounce)


  • Butter – trace amounts (essentially 0 lactose per teaspoon)



If you suspect lactose intolerance, eliminate all lactose-containing foods to see if symptoms improve, then gradually add products back in, one-by-one, to determine how much lactose you can tolerate.

Taking the lactase enzyme (in the form of Lactaid pills, for example) can help to digest lactose.

Also available: lactose-free versions of milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese, as well as milk alternatives like unsweetened coconut or almond milk.


Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her articles in Thrive Global!   Follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD – and check out her weekly podcast; just search ‘Molly Kimball’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.


Latest News

More News