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Does Goat Cheese Have Lactose & is it Safe for Lactose Intolerant People?

Goat’s milk is widely used these days as milk and also to produce other dairy products e.g. yoghurt, cheese, curd. Goat’s milk also contains lactose however the amount is slightly less than cow’s milk. Goat milk has 4.4% and cow milk has 4.8% of lactose per 100g. Also goat’s milk is naturally homogenized, which means the fat globules are small and results in smaller and softer curd enabling the enzymes to break it down easily. This makes goat’s milk easy to digest.

In cow’s milk the fat globules are large so it’s hard to digest. For people with mild lactose intolerance they can tolerate goat’s milk because it contains less lactose and the fat globules are easily digestible than cow’s milk.

However if you get symptoms after consuming goat’s milk, you have to consume products free from lactose e.g. soy milk, rice milk, almond milk

Does Goat Cheese Have Lactose?

Does Goat Cheese Have Lactose?

Goat cheese is made from the fermented goat’s milk and this causes a reduction in lactose in cheese. Most of the lactose is seen in the whey part of the goat’s milk. During the process of making cheese the liquid part that is separated from solid cheese curds is whey. So during the process of cheese making most of the lactose is removed but it still contains lactose in small amounts.

The amount of lactose reduces with time, more old the cheese it has less lactose. So even in goat cheese there is some amount of lactose still remaining but this can be tolerated by many individuals.

However we cannot say it’s completely safe to eat goat cheese and symptoms will not develop. This depends on how much lactase enzyme is produced. Some people will be able to consume goat cheese without any symptoms, some won’t tolerate it depends on the level of lactose intolerance. There are different types of goat cheese now. The typical one is soft chevre log, cheddar and mozzarella. You can try small portions of these and see if you get symptoms.

Is Goat Cheese Safe for Lactose Intolerant People?

Goat’s milk (4.4%) has less lactose than cow’s milk (4.8%), also the goat milk has small fat globules which remain in the milk rather than spreading out which makes the milk more digestible by the enzymes. Lactose is seen mainly in the whey part of the milk which is removed during the fermenting process of the cheese. Also with the time the amount of lactose reduces in cheese. So there is less lactose in goat cheese. Therefore individuals with mild form of lactose intolerance can usually tolerate goat cheese and it is safe for them. However individuals with severe lactose intolerance will not tolerate even small amounts of lactose therefore they will not tolerate goat cheese as well.

Lactose is a sugar molecule that is found in milk and milk products. The enzyme lactase is needed to breakdown this lactose into glucose and galactose which are simpler forms of sugar molecules. The lactase enzyme is produced in the small intestine. Lactose intolerant people have difficulty in digesting lactose due to the lack of lactase enzyme.

They will get symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain and discomfort after eating or drinking milk or milk products. These symptoms can occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming milk or milk products. The severity of the symptoms change according to how much lactose taken and how much lactase enzyme is deficient in the body.

People with lactose intolerance can tolerate about 6g – 12g of lactose with either no symptoms or with milder symptoms, some people can have products which contain milk e.g. chocolate, cake, biscuits, and tea without any symptoms.

There is no cure for lactose intolerance; the only measure is to avoid food products that contain lactose which gives symptoms or having lactase enzyme pills when consuming food. It’s important for you to know what dairy product which will cause symptoms and what is the maximum amount you can eat without getting symptoms.


  1. MedlinePlus. (2021). Lactose intolerance https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/lactose-intolerance/
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2018). Lactose Intolerance https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/lactose-intolerance

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 4, 2023

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