Is Lactose-Free Milk Dairy Free?

If you suffer from lactose intolerance, you may think that you must give dairy milk a miss. Many people mistakenly believe that if you can’t digest lactose, the only alternative to dairy milk is plant-based milk made from nuts or grains. However, this is a misconception. While there is no lactose in dairy-free milk, there are also dairy milks available that don’t contain lactose.

Lactose-free dairy milk is an alternative to normal dairy milk or plant-based milk that can help to reduce many of the issues associated with being lactose intolerant. These issues can range from mild abdominal pain to severe pain, diarrhoea, and vomiting.

So what is lactose-free milk?

Put simply, it’s milk that doesn’t contain lactose, a natural sugar found in milk. To produce lactose-free milk, the food manufacturers add the enzyme lactase to regular milk to break down the lactose. Adding lactase to the milk has no noticeable effect on its nutrient profile or texture although some people say it tastes slightly sweeter than regular cow’s milk. It’s a great alternative for people who have a problem digesting lactose.

It contains the same nutrients as regular milk

Despite the addition of lactase, lactose-free milk has the same nutrients as regular cow’s milk. It’s an excellent source of protein and essential micronutrients including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and riboflavin. Some lactose-free milk is also enriched with vitamin D.

It can be much easier to digest

When we’re born, most of us are able to digest lactose. However, this ability can diminish as we age, and we can become lactose intolerant. Surprisingly, this change can start at a very young age. If you are unable to digest lactose, you will experience symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and even vomiting. As lactose-free milk contains lactase (the enzyme which breaks down lactose), lactose free dairy products can be easier to digest.

It tastes sweeter than regular milk

While adding lactase to regular milk does not affect its texture or nutrient profile, it does change the taste. The added lactase breaks down the lactose in the milk to form two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. Our taste buds identify these as being sweeter than complex sugars.

It’s still a dairy product

To answer the question, ‘is lactose-free milk dairy free?’ The answer is no. It’s still a dairy product. Although for some people, it can be a great alternative to regular milk, it may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with a dairy allergy. Of course, it’s also not a suitable choice for vegans or anyone who wishes to follow a dairy-free diet. 

Delicious lactose-free milk direct from the farm

At The Little Big Dairy Co, we produce delicious lactose-free single-source milk. It contains all the flavour of our full cream milk without the lactose and can be traced back to the beautiful Holstein cow that made it. There’s no need to miss out on the creaminess of our fresh milk when you can enjoy easily digestible, flavoursome milk direct from the farm.