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Can lactose intolerant people enjoy cheese?

Cheese is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine and each region of Italy is known for producing a particular type of cheese. According to Yogendra Pal, Executive Chef of Amari Raya Maldives, “Cheese is the silent hero of culinary diversity – be it the splash of creamy brie in French-inspired dishes, the tangy flavor of Parmesan that graces Italian dishes, or the comforting embrace of the locals. Be it cheese in Maldivian cuisine, this ingredient crosses boundaries to enhance every bite.”

Adding to this, Avni Biyani, founder of Sorrentina, said, “Whether it’s as an antipasti board that will showcase strong cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, blue cheese and provolone, or as a part of a salad where You might stumble upon a creamy variety like burrata or mozzarella; a meal in Italy would be incomplete, some might even say a crime, without locally made cheese.”

In this regard, can lactose intolerant people eat cheese? Continue reading to know more:

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem in which the body struggles to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. Individuals with lactose intolerance may experience a number of uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps and diarrhea after eating lactose-containing foods.

Can lactose intolerant people enjoy cheese?

Dr. Divya Singh, senior surgeon at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and director of Maiya Social Change Front Foundation, said, “For those who love dairy, the question often arises: can lactose intolerant people eat cheese? The good news is that there is a surprisingly satisfying answer to this age-old question- Yes.”

“Generally, most dairy products are relatively high in lactose, but cheese is a unique case. During the cheese making process, most of the lactose is removed with the whey, and as a result, the lactose content in the final product is significantly lower. compared to milk. However, it is important to choose wisely. Hard cheeses, such as cheddar, Parmesan, and Swiss cheeses generally contain very little lactose, while soft cheeses, such as ricotta and cream cheese, may contain slightly more lactose. But they are nevertheless usually well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance.”

Plus, he also shared tips for lactose-intolerance:

  • know your limits: Being aware of your lactose tolerance limit is the first step towards effective management. Maintain a food journal detailing what and how much you ate and how your body responded. Recognize your patterns and follow your limits for a comfortable eating experience.
  • choose wisely: Choose hard and aged cheeses, which usually have less lactose.
  • monitor portion sizes: Smaller doses may be better tolerated, and everyone’s tolerance level may vary.
  • Pair with lactase supplements: Some individuals believe that taking lactase enzyme supplements before enjoying dairy products helps improve digestion.
  • listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body reacts to different types of cheese and adjust your choices accordingly.



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