Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lactose Found Not Only In Cow's Milk

I don't get it.

I realize I seem to start a lot of posts this way. So either this says a lot about me or a lot about the world. I'm hoping for the latter.

But, really folks. This one is simple. All milkable animals have milk that is high in lactose. This is not exactly news. Lactose is the basic sugar and the basic energy source in the milk of almost all mammals, humans included. Every textbook that writes about milk and mammals will say this. Because lactose is such a basic energy source, the amount of lactose in similar animals, such as those humans draw milk from, is about the same. It's almost always around 4-5%. Humans are the exception, with 7% lactose in their milk, but they're not milkable animals in the normal sense.

Of course I've said this before myself, in There's Lactose in All Animal Milks, Dummy! Some might say that calling people dummies is not a good idea, because it makes them feel bad.

They should feel bad. Because they're wrong. Normally I'd say they're ignorant, an honorable condition as we're all ignorant about most details of most subjects. Are they ignorant? Ignorance should be random, that is, if people say ignorant things on a subject the mistakes should comment on every possible side of the issue. It doesn't here. The mistakes always fall on one side. People - always people selling, or at least touting, a product - always say that the product they're selling, made with animal milk, is somehow different from cow's milk in that it doesn't contain lactose, or has a small amount of lactose, or, as in the case of Jessica Chapman of the Minneapolis/St. Paul CityPages, that buffalo milk mozzarella is "kosher for lactose-intolerant folks."

It's not. I've said that before, too in the unmistakably titled Water Buffalo Milk Isn't Low Lactose Either. Some aged cheeses are very low in lactose and suitable for those with lactose intolerance, true. That's true regardless of the starter milk they're made from. Water buffalo milk has no special lactose properties that cow's milk lacks.

Nor does goat's milk, or sheep's milk, or camel's milk, all of which have had low lactose claims made for. Can it be sheer coincidence that every false claim about animal milk always falls on the side opposite cow's milk, a claim that benefits the seller? I don't believe it. Someone somewhere along the line is pushing disinformation, wrongness that seeps its way through the Internet and poisons all future mentions.

They're all wrong. Take a look at the percentages given at The Lactose Zoo page of my website. The table was adapted from Milk and Milk Products in Human Nutrition, 2nd ed, rev., FAO Nutritional Studies, No. 27, S. K. Kon. Rome: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, p. 3.

If you want a second opinion list, check this table from A Handbook of Sugar Analysis, by Charles Albert Browne. It dates from 1912, and the high points are higher than estimated today but the same relationships are clear. In other words, this simple fact about animal milks has been solidly established in the scientific literature for a century. Only today, with product to push, have people "forgotten" it. Excuse me for being skeptical.

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Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, you are wrong when you state "All milkable animals have milk that is high in lactose."

Pinnipeds have milk with absolutely no lactose. Fact check yourself.

Smalls said...

You are wrong cuz. Completely wrong, I'm laughing at the dumbness still . But the best milks don't even come from mammals people. Soy milk, Almond milk & probably the best Coconut milk have no lactaid, plus they don't go through the harmful procedures either such as mammal milk

Unknown said...

Can you please take a video when you attempt to milk a walrus? Please!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Just to let you know, you are wrong when you state "All milkable animals have milk that is high in lactose."

Pinnipeds have milk with absolutely no lactose. Fact check yourself.

Steve Carper said...

I'm well aware of the pinnipeds. I've reported that here on my blog.

There's Lactose in All Animal Milks, Dummy!

"There are a few mammals whose milk doesn't contain lactose (or very tiny quantities of it). Those are the primitive mammals like the platypus, which evolved before lactose did, and the large sea mammals like seals, which traded lactose for more fat for extra energy."

I'm not sure that the platypus or pinnipeds are milkable animals, though. That's why I put in that qualification.

Unknown said...

Tell me some things you know about A2 cow milk.

Anonymous said...

Wow, some haters triggered here.

First off, Mr 'Smalls', soy milk is terribly bad for you. Look it up. Secondly, it's obvious really that he's referring to animal milk only.

OP, this article was really informative and helpful to me. Thank you. My textbooks all say that human and cow milks are the only natural sources of lactose, and that didn't sound right to me.

Avariella said...

I was looking for articles on milk brands in India and I came across yours inspiring read. Great post!
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