What Foods May Bring on an Episode?

Many people with lactose intolerance can still include dairy products in their diets by adjusting the amount of lactose they consume by carefully selecting foods and beverages.10 The amount of ingested lactose required to produce symptoms varies among lactose intolerant patients but is generally between 12 and 18 g per day. This equates to 250 to 375 mL (8 to 12 ounces) of milk.5


People differ in the amounts and types of foods they can handle. One person might have symptoms after drinking only a small glass of milk, while someone else can drink a bigger glass of milk, but not two glasses. Others may be able to manage ice cream and aged cheeses without any symptoms, but other dairy products cause them discomfort.3 Foods made from dairy products, such as puddings, cream soups, cream or cheese sauces, also contain lactose.10


The following chart shows the average amount of lactose in each product and is meant to serve only as a guide.


Lactose Content of Common Dairy Products10


Product Serving Size Amount of Lactose (g)
Butter 1 tsp (5 mL) trace
Buttermilk 1 cup (250 mL) 10

Sharp cheddar
Parmesan, grated

1 ounce (28 g)
1 ounce (28 g)
1 ounce (28 g)
Chocolate milk 1 cup (250 mL) 11
Cottage cheese, creamed 1/2 cup (125 mL) 3
Cream, light 1/2 cup (125 mL) 4
Evaporated milk 1 cup (250 mL) 24
Half-and-half 1/2 cup (125 mL) 5
Ice cream 1/2 cup (125 mL) 6
Ice milk 1/2 cup (125 mL) 9
Margarine 1 tsp (5 mL) trace
Milk (non-fat, 1%, 2%, whole) 1 cup (250 mL) 11
Yogurt, low-fat 1 cup (250 mL) 5





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