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Deborah Kurzrock is a Registered Dietitian with the Mills Peninsula Health Services Women’s Center. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis and completed her Dietetic Internship at the University of California, Berkeley. She was Chief Clinical Dietitian at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center and a clinical dietitian at Children’s Hospital in Oakland.
Does goat cheese contain lactose? If I am lactose intolerant, is it safe to eat?
Deborah Kurzrock, R.D.
Lactose is the sugar found in milk. If you have been told you are lactose intolerant, you are unable to digest this sugar. Some people can eat or drink small amounts of lactose, while others can not tolerate any lactose-containing foods. Goat's milk does contain lactose and it has almost as much as cow's milk.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance differ from person to person. The most common symptoms are gas, diarrhea, abdominal cramping or discomfort, and generalized abdominal pain. Learn more about Lactose Intolerance
Some people have a less severe reaction to lactose and find that they can eat fermented milk products without having any symptoms. These fermented milk products include yogurt and aged cheeses , such as cheddar. Cheeses made from both cow's milk or goat's milk will have a reduction in the amount of lactose due to the fermentation process. However, for some reason, some people do seem to tolerate goat cheese better than cow’s milk cheese. The fat molecules in goat's milk are shorter than in cow's milk and this may account for its easier digestibility for some.
The severity of your lactose intolerance, would determine how ”safe” goat cheese will be for you to include in your diet. You may want to consult with your doctor /dietitian for more individualized guidance. You can also download our Lactose Intolerance Guide for ideas on dietary substitutions.