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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lactose-Free Cheese

The Since Your Asked column in the Medford, OR, MailTribune got a softball question and hit, well, a weak single.

I was recently diagnosed as lactose-intolerant. It's very easy to find lactose-free milk, but is there such a thing as lactose-free cheese or any other food items? If so, are there any local stores that sell them?

The first part of the answer is completely correct, which is I give them credit for a hit.
The good news about a lactose-free diet is that it can still include cheese, but the type of cheese makes all the difference.

"The fresher a cheese, the more lactose will be present," says Gianaclis Caldwell, co-owner and cheesemaker of Pholia Farm near Rogue River. "Hard, aged cheese — it's virtually gone."

The reason is a chemical reaction that occurs in cheesemaking or other types of fermentation. Lactose is a sugar found in all milk. Bacteria, often added as a culture, eats sugar. The longer dairy products are aged, the more sugar is converted into lactic acid. All-natural yogurt is another fermented food that may be digestible for some people with lactose intolerance.

A general rule of thumb is the harder the cheese, the longer it's been aged. Think Parmesan, Swiss and sharp cheddar. To be sure, stick with the highest-quality cheeses, more likely produced with natural methods, rather than additives to alter texture.

The problem with the column as a whole is twofold.

First, as I keep telling people and my NIH LI Conference series should make abundantly clear, you don't need to go onto a lactose-free diet even if you have LI.

Second, the column claims that their shoppers couldn't find any true cheeses marked "lactose-free" in local stores. I can't dispute that, but such cheese definitely exist. My Steve Carper's Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse website has a page of Reduced Lactose Milk Products that include the names and contact information several brands of true cow's milk lactose-free cheeses.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cabot cheese, on the sharp and extra sharp cheddar packages, clearly mark it as Lactose-Free. My in laws recently visited Cabot and they said the same.