Can Lactose Intolerant People Eat Certain Cheeses?

Can Lactose Intolerant People Eat Certain Cheeses

Can Lactose Intolerant People Eat Certain Cheeses?

Our apparently obsessive love with dairy products, including dishes such as macaroni and cheese and mac ‘n’ cheese–stuffed macaroni and cheese sandwiches, makes it easy to forget that a significant proportion of the population is unable to consume dairy products. In reality, such individuals are the exception: Lactose, the main sugar found in milk, is indigestible by about 75% of the world’s population, according to estimates. If you have a lactose intolerance, several cheeses may make you feel bloated and uneasy—or even worse—after eating them.

 

 

Our apparently obsessive love with dairy products, including dishes such as macaroni and cheese and mac ‘n’ cheese–stuffed macaroni and cheese sandwiches, makes it easy to forget that a significant proportion of the population is unable to consume dairy products. In reality, such individuals are the exception: Lactose, the main sugar found in milk, is indigestible by about 75% of the world’s population, according to estimates. If you have a lactose intolerance, several cheeses may make you feel bloated and uneasy—or even worse—after eating them.

 

 

However, there are certain cheeses that don’t appear to have the same impact as others on the body as others (and some have none at all). The issue therefore becomes: If all cheese is produced from milk, why do some cause stomach distress while others are quite harmless?

According to one hypothesis, older cheeses contain less lactose and are thus less prone to cause symptoms when consumed. During the cheesemaking process, lactobacilli cultures are added to the milk, which causes the lactose to be converted into lactic acid, which is readily absorbed by all people. It has been shown that the longer the bacteria are allowed to work, the smaller the quantity of lactose in the cheese. At some point, the lactose levels drop to a level where the cheese may be consumed by someone who has lactose sensitivity with little or no ill effects.

 

 

Hard, extra-aged cheeses, such as Parmesans, cheddars, and Swiss-style cheeses, are considered to be safe bets for those who are lactose intolerant, according to this belief (and as a bonus, aging also brings delicious complexity). The lactose content in younger, moister, softer cheeses that have been matured for a shorter period of time (such as brie), fresh cheeses (such as mozzarella and feta), and processed cheeses (such as Velveeta) is greater, making them more prone to cause unpleasant side effects.

 

 

Another hypothesis, on the other hand, holds that it is the fat in cheese, rather than the lactose, that makes some types of cheese difficult to digest. The curdling process turns a significant portion of the lactose in milk into lactic acid, while the whey, the residual liquid, washes away a significant portion of the lactose that remains. 

 

Even fresh cheeses contain just a small percentage of the lactose found in milk, which is why they are so popular. Cow’s milk, on the other hand, contains big, difficult-to-digest fat globules that stay in the cheese and are said to be the actual cause of stomach pain in some people. Consequently, goat and sheep milk cheeses, which have smaller fat particles, are typically more digestible than cow’s milk cheeses. 

 

This is true despite the fact that fresh milk from both animals has about the same amount of lactose as milk from cows.

 

Our apparently obsessive love with dairy products, including dishes such as macaroni and cheese and mac ‘n’ cheese–stuffed macaroni and cheese sandwiches, makes it easy to forget that a significant proportion of the population is unable to consume dairy products. In reality, such individuals are the exception: Lactose, the main sugar found in milk, is indigestible by about 75% of the world’s population, according to estimates. If you have a lactose intolerance, several cheeses may make you feel bloated and uneasy—or even worse—after eating them.

However, there are certain cheeses that don’t appear to have the same impact as others on the body as others (and some have none at all). The issue therefore becomes: If all cheese is produced from milk, why do some cause stomach distress while others are quite harmless?

 

 

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According to one hypothesis, older cheeses contain less lactose and are thus less prone to cause symptoms when consumed. During the cheesemaking process, lactobacilli cultures are added to the milk, which causes the lactose to be converted into lactic acid, which is readily absorbed by all people. It has been shown that the longer the bacteria are allowed to work, the smaller the quantity of lactose in the cheese. At some point, the lactose levels drop to a level where the cheese may be consumed by someone who has lactose sensitivity with little or no ill effects.

 

 

Hard, extra-aged cheeses, such as Parmesans, cheddars, and Swiss-style cheeses, are considered to be safe bets for those who are lactose intolerant, according to this belief (and as a bonus, aging also brings delicious complexity). The lactose content in younger, moister, softer cheeses that have been matured for a shorter period of time (such as brie), fresh cheeses (such as mozzarella and feta), and processed cheeses (such as Velveeta) is greater, making them more prone to cause unpleasant side effects.

Another hypothesis, on the other hand, holds that it is the fat in cheese, rather than the lactose, that makes some types of cheese difficult to digest.

 

 

 The curdling process turns a significant portion of the lactose in milk into lactic acid, while the whey, the residual liquid, washes away a significant portion of the lactose that remains. Even fresh cheeses contain just a small percentage of the lactose found in milk, which is why they are so popular. Cow’s milk, on the other hand, contains big, difficult-to-digest fat globules that stay in the cheese and are said to be the actual cause of stomach pain in some people. Consequently, goat and sheep milk cheeses, which have smaller fat particles, are typically more digestible than cow’s milk cheeses. This is true despite the fact that fresh milk from both animals has about the same amount of lactose as milk from cows.

 

 

The basic truth is that tolerance for lactose and various cheeses differs from person to person and is dependent on the degree of activity of your stomach’s lactase enzyme… (the enzyme responsible for lactose digestion). When it comes to cheese, if you are lactose intolerant and want to get into it, start with tiny quantities of hard, goat, or sheep cheeses and work your way up from there.