Which Dairy Products Contain The Most Lactose?

Lactose is a sugar formed from the combination of glucose and galactose. It is found mainly in dairy products. It is the main source of carbohydrates and energy for the babies. Some babies and some adults become lactose intolerant in their life. This happens because of the lack of lactase enzyme in the body that is meant to digest lactose. Lactose intolerant people experience symptoms like bloating, flatulence, cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Dairy products that are high in lactose are milk, butter, cheese or cream. Food items like infant formula, chocolates, cakes, candies, ice cream, and macaroni have the high concentration of lactose.

Which Dairy Products Contain The Most Lactose?

Which Dairy Products Contain The Most Lactose?

Lactose is a type of sugar mainly found in dairy products. Lactose is formed by two simple sugar forms, galactose, and glucose. Lactose is broken down into these components by an enzyme named lactase. This enzyme is secreted in the small intestine. These components get absorbed into the blood from the small intestine for further body utilization in the form of energy.

Some people suffer from lactose intolerance in their life. Lactose intolerance is a gastrointestinal condition characterized by one’s inability to digest lactose in the body. The main cause of the condition is the insufficient production of lactase enzyme by the small intestine. The lactose is not absorbed properly in the small intestine. It is digested in the large intestine by the bacteria leading to digestive symptoms. The condition is harmless and is triggered by ingestion of milk or milk products.

Anybody can suffer from unpleasant abdominal symptoms at any age but it is common in young infants and children which settle down in a few days to few weeks. The symptoms may be different for different persons. The intensity of lactose intolerance and its symptoms depend upon the amount of lactose consumed in the meal and the amount of enzyme lactase produced in the body. The symptoms reduce with the reduction in the lactose in the meal especially milk or milk products.

The Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance Are As Follows

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Cramps in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The Dairy Products That Contain Most Lactose Are As Following-

Milk– cow’s milk, evaporated or condensed milk have the highest concentration of lactose. Powdered milk is also high in lactose. The milk contains the highest amount of lactose up to 12 grams per cup. Up to 5.2% lactose is found in the milk.

Cheese– ricotta cheese has the highest concentration of lactose among other cheeses. Even low fat cream cheese has 5.8 % lactose. Mozzarella, American, and cottage are the cheeses high in lactose. The cheese that contains 1 gram of lactose has a low concentration of lactose. These are parmesan, cheddar or Swiss.

Cream– cream is one of high-lactose dairy product. 100 g of cream can serve 4.1 g of lactose.

Yogurtyogurt especially frozen one has high lactose up to 2.9%.

Butter– butter contains 0.8 to 1 % of lactose as the cream is whipped out during the preparation of butter.

Infant Formulas– infant formulas have added lactose and are forms of dried milk powder. It has the highest concentration of lactose by up to 56 %.

Ice Cream– ice cream also has a high concentration of lactose. 100 g of lactose can supply 6.2 g of lactose.

Puddings or custard– they are one of the high lactose-containing dairy food products. It contains up to 4.9 % lactose and can go higher if it has added ingredients like chocolate, vanilla, tapioca, and rice.


Lactose intolerance is a condition marked by the deficiency of an intestinal enzyme lactase that breaks down lactose in the small intestine. Lactose is found mainly in dairy products. Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, cream, infant formulas, ice cream and puddings contain the high concentration of lactose.

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:November 6, 2018

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