What the body needs lactose for?

Lactose is the main carbohydrate in the milk of mammals. It is one of the most important energy sources for the little one. During digestion, lactose reaches the small intestine, where it is split into its components glucose and galactose. Then these components enter the bloodstream through the intestinal wall and are used in the cells to produce energy. In addition, lactose supports the development of a healthy intestinal flora.

Only in very rare cases, lactose intolerance is innate. When a person grows older, however, the ability to digest lactose may get lost, a so-called “primary lactase deficiency” arises. This is the most common form of lactose intolerance and can lead to symptoms as early as childhood. In case of complaints you should definitely consult a doctor.

Must milk be completely avoided in cases of lactose intolerance?

Many people believe that their lactose intolerance forces them to completely avoid milk and to provide a diet for themselves and their family that does not comprise any milk and dairy products. However, this is not necessary, for even with cases of acute lactose intolerance, a varying quantity of differing amounts of lactose is tolerated without any adverse reaction.

Milk and dairy products contain many healthy nutrients and are, above all, an important source of calcium. Avoiding them is therefore problematic, especially for toddlers, with regard to sufficient intake of calcium for healthy bone formation.

Before using lactose-free formula foods, you should consult your paediatrician. He or she can advise you and determine if this kind of diet is suitable for your child.

In general, the following foods are lactose-free:

  • Fruit juices, mineral water, tea

  • Fruit, legumes, and pure vegetables

  • Pasta, rice

  • Cereals, cereal flakes

  • Eggs

  • Honey and jam

  • Herbs, spices

  • Nuts

Foods that contain lactose:

looking at the label is always recommendable!

Source: Souci Fachmann Kraut, 2008
Feta cheese, 45% fat in dry weight0.5g lactose/100g
Butter0.6g lactose/100g
Cut cheese, soft cheese, hard cheese< 1g lactose/100g
Créme fraiche2.0-3.6g lactose/100g
Cream cheese, 10-70% fat in dry weight2.0-3.8g lactose/100g
Curd cheese2.5-3.2g lactose/100g
Cottage cheese2.5-3.4g lactose/100g
Sour cream3.0g lactose/100g
Yoghurt3.2-5.6g lactose/100g
Cream, 30% fat in dry weight3.3g lactose/100g
Processed cheese3.4-7.5g lactose/100g
Desserts (cream, pudding, rice pudding, etc.)3.5-6.0g lactose/100g
Buttermilk4.0g lactose/100g
Soured milk, Kefir4.0g lactose/100g
Goat milk4.2g lactose/100g
Milkshakes4.4-5.4g lactose/100g
Whey4.7g lactose/100g
Cow's milk4.8g lactose/100g
Ice cream5-7g lactose/100g
Chocolate 9.5g lactose/100g
Milk powder38.0-51.5g lactose/100g

Foods that may contain lactose
- please check the label and the nutritional information carefully

• Margarine

• Salad dressing, mayonnaise

• Sausages

• Spreads

• Thickening agents, binding agents

• Ready-made meals, canned fish

• Pastries