Lactose Intolerant? Love Dairy? Try These 12 Tips

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  • February 24, 2016

Did you know that each person with lactose intolerance is likely able to tolerate varying degrees of lactose? That’s because one size does not fit all. It is all about understanding how much lactose is in the foods you love, how much you can handle at once and other helpful hints. Here are 12 tips to try so you don’t have to give up your favorite dairy foods and the great taste and health benefits that come with them. 


Cow’s Milk

An 8-ounce. glass of cow’s milk has 12 grams of lactose. Try small amounts of milk on cereal, in smoothies or with meals. Having milk with solid foods helps slow digestion, which can mean improved tolerance.

Lactose-Free Cow’s Milk

When you choose cow’s milk without lactose, you will get literally 0 grams of lactose in every drop. It’s another option for those with lactose intolerance, and it’s real cow’s milk—just without the lactose. 


Low-fat, plain yogurt has about 12-16 grams in each 6-to-8-ounce. serving. It’s unique because yogurt’s live and active cultures help digest the lactose, which can make it easier to tolerate. 

Greek Yogurt

In any 6-to-8-ounce serving of low-fat, plain Greek yogurt, there are about 6-to-8 grams of lactose. The straining process involved in creating Greek yogurt removes some of it. And live and active cultures can help you digest the lactose.

Lactose-Free Yogurt/Greek Yogurt

There are lactose-free cow’s milk yogurt options, and they’re real yogurt without the lactose. That’s right—0 grams in every serving.

Natural Cheeses

In a 1.5-ounce serving of natural cheese, you can count on less than one gram of lactose. Natural cheeses include Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, Gouda, Colby, Monterey Jack, Provolone, Brie, Blue and Parmesan. Steps in the cheese-making process, and natural aging, make this possible. 

American Cheese

Made from natural cheese, American cheese contains just 1.25 grams in a 2-ounce serving.

Cottage Cheese

A half cup of cottage cheese contains 3 grams of lactose.

Ricotta Cheese

In a half cup of ricotta cheese, there can be anywhere from less than a gram of lactose up to 6 grams. Ricotta is a soft and natural cheese. 

Ice Cream

Lactose-free ice cream is available, and a half cup of regular ice cream has 4 grams.


Butter contains very little lactose. In fact, it’s less than 0.1 grams in a teaspoon.


Cream cheese, liquid cream, and whipped or block cream has less than one g of lactose in one tablespoon.

Key Takeaway: If you are lactose intolerant, you most likely can work small amounts of dairy into your meals or choose dairy foods with minimal lactose. Then, gradually increase your portion size to find your comfort level.