How is Lactose-Free Milk Made?

Lactose-free milk is readily available throughout Australia. It’s a great alternative to regular dairy milk for anyone who has issues digesting lactose. They can enjoy all the goodness of dairy milk without the problems associated with lactose intolerance.

But how is it made? Do the manufacturers simply remove lactose from the milk as its name suggests?

What is lactose-free milk?

Lactose-free dairy milk can help to reduce many of the issues experienced by people who are lactose intolerant, such as mild to severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Unlike regular dairy milk, it doesn’t contain the naturally occurring sugar molecule, lactose.

How lactose-free milk made?

Making lactose-free milk is a relatively simple process. Most dairies pass the milk through filters first to remove a percentage of the lactose before adding the enzyme lactase to the milk to break down the lactose into smaller molecules that are much easier for us to digest.

This process doesn’t affect the nutrient profile of the milk or its texture. It still contains the same micronutrients including calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, phosphorus and riboflavin, with some lactose-free milk being enriched with vitamin D which helps the body to absorb calcium more easily. Lactose-free milk is an equally good source of protein as regular milk.

How does lactose-free milk differ from regular dairy milk?

It’s much easier to digest

Lactose-free milk is much easier to digest than milk containing lactose. Let’s explain this a little further. At birth, most of us can digest lactose. However, as we age, this ability diminishes and some of us will be unable to digest it at all without having problems. We’re then said to be lactose intolerant.

If you’re lactose intolerant, you likely have low levels of lactase in your digestive system. This means if you drink regular milk the separation of the lactose molecules into simple sugars doesn’t take place before it reaches your large intestine. Once lactose is in the large intestine, the bacteria in your gut will start to break it down, releasing gases which can cause pain and bloating. By adding lactase to the milk, the lactose is broken down before you drink it so that the milk doesn’t cause problems with digestion.

It tastes sweeter than regular milk

Adding lactase doesn’t affect the texture of the milk but it does affect the taste. This is because the lactase breaks down the lactose into two simple sugars – glucose and galactose. Our taste buds identify these as tasting sweeter than complex sugars.

Enjoy delicious lactose-free milk direct from Dubbo in NSW

Delicious lactose-free milk is just one of the single source milks available from The Little Big Dairy Co in Dubbo, New South Wales. Our lactose-free milk has all the flavour of our full cream milk, but we’ve removed the lactose to make it more palatable for anyone with lactose intolerance. It’s a pretty special milk as it can be traced back to the beautiful purebred Holstein cow that produced it. How many other milk producers can say that?