Do you want to learn how to figure out how much lactose is in various cheeses? It’s surprisingly simple! Just look at the Nutrition Facts label and check how many carbohydrates are in it. Most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate a few grams of lactose per sitting. But for the sake of the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, if your cheese has less than 1 gram of lactose per serving, you are good to go! Of course that means you do need to be mindful of serving size because if you eat an entire block of cheese at one time, it certainly won’t be lactose free.
Check out this label below. As you can see there is less than 1 gram of carbohydrate per serving, so this is a low lactose cheese at the serving size of 28 grams or a 1” cube.
Please note that this label reading trick does not work for all dairy products. If a dairy product has added sugar, like in chocolate milk, or strawberry yogurt, the carbohydrates will also include the added sugar so it would not be a good reflection of the lactose content of either of those products.
Wonder why there are carbs listed in lactose free milk? That is because when the lactase enzyme is added to the milk in the factory, the lactose is split into 2 sugar molecules; glucose and galactose. Therefore the carbohydrate content listed on the lactose free milk carton reflects both of these molecules, but you can rest assured there is no lactose in it.
To make things easier on yourself, I recommend choosing dairy products that specifically state they are lactose free (with the exception of cheese) while you are on the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet. You can try eating bigger amounts of lactose at a sitting later on when you are in the reintroduction phase.
I hope this post will make it easier for you to pick out those safe low lactose cheeses. And hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised to find that some of your favorites are low FODMAP!