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Which foods contain lactose?

Find a list of foods and ingredients which may contain lactose below. First, let’s have a quick primer on lactose, lactose-free, and dairy-free.

What is lactose?

Lactose is a type of simple sugar and a FODMAP found naturally in milk and milk products. It’s broken down by an enzyme called lactase. Some people do not naturally produce lactase; this results in an inability to digest lactose (also known as lactose intolerance).

What are lactose-free foods?

Lactose-free products are made from dairy (animal milk) but have the lactase enzyme added to break down lactose. These products are safe for people with lactose intolerance.

What is the difference between lactose-free and dairy-free?

Dairy-free products are not made from dairy (animal milk). This means they do not contain lactose (a milk sugar) or whey/casein (milk proteins). With that being said, always read labels, especially if you have a milk allergy. Products labeled “Non-dairy” and “Dairy-free” may still legally include milk proteins like casein in the USA.

Foods with lactose

IngredientLikely lactose content
asadero cheeseAsadero Cheese may not be lactose free. Asadero cheese is made from milk.
asiagoAsiago may not be lactose free. Asiago is a cheese made from milk.
beta-lactoglobulinBeta-Lactoglobulin may not be lactose free. Beta-lactoglobulin (LGB) is the whey protein found in cow and sheep milk.
blue cheeseBlue Cheese may not be lactose free. Blue cheese is made from milk.
buttermilkButtermilk is not lactose free. Buttermilk is a fermented beverage made from milk.
caseinCasein may not be lactose free.
cheeseCheese may not be lactose free. Cheese is generally made from milk unless otherwise noted.
cheese curdCheese Curd may not be lactose free. Cheese Curd is made from milk.
cheese seasoningCheese Seasoning may not be lactose free. Cheese Seasoning is made from milk.
chocolateChocolate may not be lactose free. Milk chocolate and white chocolate almost always contain milk; however, some dark chocolates are made without milk. Read ingredient and allergen labels carefully and look for brands labeled dairy-free or vegan specifically.
condensed milkCondensed Milk is not lactose free. Condensed Milk is made from milk.
cottage cheeseCottage Cheese may not be lactose free. Cottage Cheese is made from milk.
creamCream is not lactose free. Cream is made from milk.
cream cheeseCream Cheese may not be lactose free. Cream Cheese is made from milk.
dairyDairy may not be lactose free.
dark chocolateDark Chocolate may not be lactose free. Dark chocolate may not include milk ingredients; check the ingredient and allergen statements carefully or look for brands labeled as dairy-free. Milk chocolate and white chocolate almost always contain milk unless labeled dairy-free.
dry milkDry Milk is not lactose free.
edamEdam may not be lactose free. Edam is made from milk.
eggnogEggnog may not be lactose free. Eggnog is traditionally made with milk and eggs.
evaporated milkEvaporated Milk is not lactose free. Evaporated Milk is made from milk.
fontina cheeseFontina Cheese may not be lactose free. Fontina Cheese is made from milk.
goat cheeseGoat Cheese may not be lactose free. Goat cheese is made from milk. Fontina Cheese may contain lactose.
goat milkGoat Milk is not lactose free. Goat Milk is made from milk sources.
gorgonzolaGorgonzola may not be lactose free. Gorgonzola cheese is made from milk.
goudaGouda may not be lactose free. Gouda cheese is made from milk.
haloumiHaloumi may not be lactose free. Haloumi cheese is made from milk.
jarlsbergJarlsberg may not be lactose free. Jarlsberg cheese is made from milk.
kasseri cheeseKasseri Cheese may not be lactose free. Kasseri Cheese is made from milk.
kefirKefir may not be lactose free. Kefir is a fermented beverage created from milk sources.
lactalbuminLactalbumin may not be lactose free.
lactoseLactose is not lactose free. Lactose, the sugar found in cow's milk, may not be lactose-free.
lactuloseLactulose is not lactose free. Lactulose is a synthetic sugar made from lactose, the sugar found in cow's milk. It may not be lactose-free.
low fat milkLow Fat Milk is not lactose free.
low fat yogurtLow Fat Yogurt may not be lactose free. Low fat yogurt is generally made from milk sources.
malted milkMalted Milk is not lactose free. Malted Milk is made from milk.
mascarponeMascarpone may not be lactose free. Mascarpone cheese is made from milk.
milkMilk is not lactose free. Animal milk (cow's milk, sheep's milk) contains lactose.
milk chocolateMilk Chocolate may not be lactose free. Milk chocolate almost always contains milk which may not be lactose-free. Read ingredient and allergen labels carefully or look specifically for dairy free versions. Dark chocolate is more commonly dairy-free.
milk powderMilk Powder is not lactose free. Milk powder comes from milk.
milk protein concentrateMilk Protein Concentrate is not lactose free. Milk Protein Concentrate comes from milk and is not dairy free.
milk solidsMilk Solids are not lactose free. Milk Solids come from milk and is not dairy free.
milk sugarMilk Sugar is not lactose free. Milk sugar comes from milk.
muensterMuenster may not be lactose free. Muenster cheese is made from milk.
neufchatelNeufchatel may not be lactose free. Neufchatel cheese is made from milk.
nisin preparationNisin Preparation may not be lactose free. Nisin Preparation is a preservative often created using milk.
oaxaca cheeseOaxaca Cheese may not be lactose free. Oaxaca Cheese is made from milk.
paneerPaneer may not be lactose free. Paneer cheese is made from milk.
pimento cheesePimento Cheese may not be lactose free. Pimento Cheese is made from milk.
prebiotic fiberPrebiotic Fiber is not lactose free. Prebiotic fiber could consist of multiple source ingredients like galacto-oligosaccharides, lactosucrose, lactulose and lactitol.
provolone cheeseProvolone Cheese may not be lactose free. Provolone Cheese is made from milk.
quark cheeseQuark Cheese may not be lactose free. Quark Cheese is made from milk.
queso frescoQueso Fresco may not be lactose free. Queso Fresco cheese is made from milk.
ricottaRicotta may not be lactose free. Ricotta cheese is made from milk.
roquefort cheeseRoquefort Cheese may not be lactose free. Roquefort Cheese is made from milk.
sheep cheeseSheep Cheese may not be lactose free. Sheep Cheese is made from milk.
sheep milkSheep Milk is not lactose free. Sheep Milk is made from milk.
skim milkSkim Milk is not lactose free. Skim Milk is made from milk.
skim milk powderSkim Milk Powder is not lactose free. Skim Milk Powder is made from milk.
sour creamSour Cream is not lactose free. Sour Cream is made from milk.
unsweetened chocolateUnsweetened Chocolate may not be lactose free. Unsweetened chocolate MAY contain milk. Please check the ingredient list carefully.
wheyWhey may not be lactose free. Whey is a protein found in milk.
whey peptidesWhey Peptides may not be lactose free. Whey peptides, or peptide proteins found in milk, are not dairy-free.
whey protein concentrateWhey Protein Concentrate may not be lactose free. Whey is a protein found in milk.
whey solidsWhey Solids are not lactose free. Whey is a protein found in milk.
white chocolateWhite Chocolate may not be lactose free. White chocolate is typically made with milk. However, look for dairy free or vegan versions.
whole milkWhole Milk is not lactose free.
whole milk powderWhole Milk Powder is not lactose free. Whole milk powder may not be lactose-free.
whole milk solidsWhole Milk Solids are not lactose free. Whole Milk Solids are made from milk and are not dairy-free.
yogurtYogurt may not be lactose free. Yogurt is generally made from milk and is not dairy free; however, look for labeled dairy free or vegan versions made from non-dairy milks like oat milk and almond milk.

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