Science: April 2010 Archives

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?

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