Naturally Lactose-Free Cheese

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When the one store in our area that sold Lactaid Cheese stopped carrying it, I asked a dairy section worker there about it, and he told me Cabot cheeses are lactose-free. This was a big surprise to me, because it seems like normal cheese. The only lactose-free stuff I was familiar with seemed modified in significant ways (e.g. Lactaid cheese is that individually-wrapped stuff, but it's better than most of those cheeses, and Lactaid milk tastes sweeter than most milks, too sweet for me to tolerate and for my blood sugar issues to be able to handle). But Cabot markets their cheeses as naturally lactose-free.

So I did some Googling, and it turns out many cheeses are naturally-lactose-free but just aren't advertised that way. Sharper cheeses (which Isaiah won't eat, because he rightly thinks they taste funny) tend to have less lactose, because bacteria from the aging process eats up the sugar, which is what lactose is. Harder, more-aged cheeses are thus more safe for the kid who won't touch them. But then some of these sites also including Colby cheese, which seems to me to be less sharp than the average cheddar, and mozzarella, which seems to me to be at the opposite end of the spectrum. They also said cottage cheese should be lactose-free for the same reason yogurt with active cultures should be. The bacteria, if left in long enough, will eat all the sugar. With active cultures, the bacteria get into your stomach and aid in digestion even if the sugar remains. Isaiah has definitely gotten sick from cheese, though, but it seems every cheese he might eat is supposed to be naturally lactose-free, according to some of these sources.

But then people who are lactose-intolerant still get sick from some of the above, and there seems to be no way to know if it's really lactose-free. Even if it lists the sugar contents as zero, Sam says that just means it's below the legal threshold in each serving to count it. Kraft cheeses are like that, for instance. That means I probably still shouldn't be sure of any given cheese that it's ok unless it says it's lactose-free, but many cheeses might have low enough lactose levels to be fine in moderation. if that's right, then is any of this of any help?

18 Comments

My family has a lot of dairy issues and I've found that cheddar and swiss have been the most helpful in that respect. But then, a few of them have some migraine issues and cheddar winds up being a trigger.

WHEN I LIVED IN FLA. I WAS ABLE TO GET A CHEESE CALLED FORMAGE.IT WAS ALL LACTOSE FREE.NOW I`M IN BAY ST. LOUIS MS. ICAN`T FIND ANY LACTOSE FREE PRODUCT EXCEPT SOY PRODUCTS.

Input your zip code into the Cabot cheese store finder. We've been using their cheeses for a couple months now, I think, and they're great. They taste like real cheese and yet are guaranteed to have no lactose. They list some stores in St. Louis, so you should be able to find them somewhere not too far from you.

Most Kraft brand cheeses are lactose free. The blocks, the shredded, the cheese cubes, NOT the string cheese. Just look on the back underneath the ingredient listing, it will say "Contains 0 grams of lactose per serving." And it's true. Have been severely lactose intolerant for 7 years, and have never gotten sick from a package marked with the above statement.

http://www.healthkicker.com/703956409/dairy-allergy-vs-lactose-intolerance/

Maybe your child has a dairy allergy rather than a lactose intolerance.

Most dairy allergies are to the protein casein. Lactase pills don't help with that. It's a lactose intolerance that runs in my wife's family, because lactase pills do help most of the people who have it. Most people become lactose intolerant at some point in their adulthood. It's a mutation that's primarily in a certain subset of the descendants of Europeans that allows some of us to retain our ability to digest lactose as adults.

I just wanted to thank Christina.
I've been going without cheese for some time now.
When I lived in Europe there was a wonderful selection of lactose-free products by a company called Valio. Yet, here in the states its been hard to find anything..
And after reading your post, I went to the store and checked the labels and you are correct, the Kraft brands contain no lactose.
I can really enjoy real cheese now!
No more rice, soy, almond, imitation veggie slices..
Thanks!!
Erika-Jane

I have had issues with dairy since I was little. I avoid it for the most part but I never had the stomach issues. My sinuses are affected and I will have a stopped-up nose, sneezing and sometimes a bad headache. I drink lactose-free milk and eat soy yogurts and cheese. If I don't take a lactose pill before eating cheese, I get sinus issues within 24 hours. I usually only eat it if we are having a rare pizza or if we are at someone's house where cheese is in a main dish. I am afraid to try real cheese, but thought I'd see if other people who have sinus problems are able to eat the lactose-free cheeses like Cabot.

I have gone through all the same issues you have, but came across Finlandia cheese brand, which is pasteurized to the extent that it is lactose free, and says so on the package, real cheesy taste no effects ... the search continues, someone should be able to come up with a comprehensive list, you would have even thought some restaurants would start catering to us

I was so excited to hear that certain Kraft cheeses were possibly lactose free, so I went to the store and bought some. Sure enough, it said Lactose - 0grams. HOWEVER... I made macaroni and cheese with this cheese and I was SICK, SICK, SICK. It was the usual stomach ache and diarrhea that I get when I've ingested Lactose. I obviously cannot tolerate it. If you are lactose intolerant, I warn that there must still be lactose in this cheese. Maybe it's less than a reportable amount, but it's still there so eat at your own risk!

Regarding the claim that Kraft cheeses are lactose-free, here's the first portion of the ingredients list (taken from their site - http://www.kraftrecipes.com/Products/ProductInfoDisplay.aspx?SiteId=1&Product=2100060464):

KRAFT SINGLES - KRAFT SINGLES - AMERICAN 16 CT
Ingredients: MILK, WHEY, MILKFAT, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF SALT, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM CITRATE, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE...

WHEY is why you're still feeling the effects of LI, Gina. Here's some helpful facts I found that you should be mindful of:

"Whey:
When curds are separated to make cheese, whey is the liquid that is left. This small word may hide on ingredients labels, but can cause a world of painful stomach upset for the lactose intolerant. Cereals, breads, and other prepared foods may contain whey, so be sure to check the labels carefully.

Casein:
This is a big one to watch out for. Casein is a milk protein often used as a binding agent in other foods. It is particularly important to make sure that dairy substitutes labeled "dairy-free" or "lactose-free" don't contain casein. While vegan cheeses are casein-free, some "veggie slices" are not. Lactose intolerant people wishing to use dairy substitutes should keep an eye out for vegan and casein-free designations on these products."

These facts can be found on this page:on this page: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5660986/lactose_intolerant_5_ingredients_to.html

So far the only cheese I've not had LI trouble with is aged Asiago - the dried flaked form, not the moist shreds/blocks since the # of months of aging differs. This includes Galaxy's Veggie Slices - I can't have more than 1 in a dish since their second ingredient is Casein! I've yet to find anything labeled Casein-Free, but you might want to check in your area.

Casein is a protein. Lactose is a sugar. They're not very similar chemically. People with a genuine lactose intolerance need not worry about casein unless they have an unrelated problem. People with problems to do with gluten, which is a wheat protein, might have related problems with casein, but they might not. I know some people with gluten problems who have no problems with milk products.

As for the Kraft cheese, the amount of actual lactose cannot be more than the amount of sugar, since lactose is a sugar. If it says 0% sugar, then the amount of lactose is so low that whatever level of precision they round to doesn't allow it to show up enough to be labeled as being there. Some people might still be sensitive enough to detect it, which is why they are required by law still to list that there's milk in it, but many people with lactose intolerance can handle Kraft cheeses. But not a

Just because the nutritional information on the package may state "0 grams of sugar per serving" this number is rounded off. If there is less then half a gram (eg 0.499999 grams) the package will say 0 grams. That is still too much lactose for may who are intolerant.

But it's just low enough for some, including my son, especially if it's not in large quantities at once on an empty stomach.

If you can't tolerate it then the 0.4999
99 IS bad enough.

Right, and if you can tolerate it then it's not bad enough. My son can tolerate it, and those who can tolerate it will benefit from knowing this.

lactose-0 only means that it is less than a certain amount, not absolutely lactose free. So if you are VERY sensitive to lactose, as I am, you may get sick. One company WAS making lactose free cheese for a while and I had some mozzarella and cheddar from them. The cheddar was mild but after years of intolerance, it was wonderful! When I called to reorder I was told the company had stopped making it. Keep hounding. Surely some dairy somewhere will decide to try it and actually publicize the fact so we can all get in on it.

I was in an upscale grocery store in Eastern PA and asked for lactose free cheese at the counter. I looked down and near the gouda was "Beemster Goat Cheese" stating 'Lactose-free' on the label. My daughter has LI and loves cheese. I was so happy to find this and she loves it! (More of a gouda tasting cheese, though). Their site may/may not help you: www.beemster.us

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