If you’re sensitive to dairy, you don’t necessarily have to forgo the fromage for fear of digestive troubles later. While you might know cheese in general is lower in lactose than, say, ice cream, I was surprised to learn that lots of cheeses contain only trace amounts.
Here are 5 low-lactose cheeses to consider:
- Cheddar: Cheddar has been reported to contain 0.1 grams of lactose or less per serving, compared to some 12 grams in a cup of milk. While exact amounts vary by brand and type, a good rule of thumb is to check the sugar content on the nutrition label (lactose is a sugar, after all). Pro tip: Sharper—aka aged longer—is better.
- Swiss – I’m a Swiss and I know we LOVE our cheese. A study was conducted to determine the lactose content in some of the region’s most popular varieties. And many of them—including Gruyère, Emmenthaler and Raclette—clocked in at levels too low to even be detected.
- Blue cheese: While not quite as low in lactose as hard cheeses, blues—Roquefort, Gorgonzola and the like—are still on the lower end of the scale. Plus, those strong flavors mean a small amount goes a long way. (Because even the most digestion-friendly cheeses are going to have an effect if you down half a block of the stuff.)
- Camembert: Surprise: Not all creamy cheeses are forbidden. Certain bloomy-rind cheeses, like Camembert and its milder cousin, Brie, average two grams or less of lactose per serving. Best news!
- Gouda: The Dutch cheese (and excellent sandwich ingredient) can actually vary wildly: It’s usually made with cow’s milk but can also be made with goat’s or sheep’s, and can be aged anywhere from a few weeks to two years. Err on the side of more aged and, as always, check the label to see the amount of sugar/lactose if you’re not sure.