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How Does Milk Become Lactose Free and What Are the Benefits?

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If you struggle with a sensitive tummy, then consuming milk may fall on the list of don’ts in your daily diet. Yet with regular milk out of the picture, in comes the wonder that is lactose free milk!

Lactose free milk has been a godsend for those of us with dietary restrictions. If you are lactose intolerant or sensitive to milk, there are a lot of different options on the market that can supplement milk within your diet. Recently we have seen the rise of nut milk, however, a lot of these nut milk supplements do not contain the same level of nutrients and minerals that help us to stay strong and live a healthy and abundant lifestyle.

If you value the nutritional benefits of cow’s milk that’s high in calcium for strong bones, high in protein to aid in muscle recovery, high in vitamins A, D and B12 as well as vital minerals like phosphorus for general wellbeing, then lactose free cow’s milk is the perfect choice for you.

So, how does milk become lactose free?

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The sentiment of something being ‘free’ of an element allows you to assume something has been removed from a product. However, interestingly this is not the case with lactose free milk. Lactose free milk is created by the addition of an enzyme called lactase.

People who experience lactose intolerance or are sensitive to milk on some level tend to not produce enough (or in some cases any) lactase themselves, and hence find it difficult to digest lactose within milk.

Lactase breaks down the more complex sugar lactose (lactose is a disaccharide, which means it is a sugar that is made up of galactose and glucose) into the subunits of galactose and glucose making the sugars simpler in nature. Most people can digest the simpler sugars of galactose and glucose very easily.

Fun Fact

Have you ever noticed lactose free milk often tastes sweeter? This is not due to the addition of sugar or any sweeteners in the milk. In fact, our taste buds will taste the simpler sugars as sweeter due to the way the hydrogen molecules interact with our taste buds. Essentially the 2 subunits of galactose and glucose taste about 70% sweeter than the larger disaccharide unit of lactose.

Benefits of lactose free milk

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So now you know how milk becomes lactose free, but what are the benefits of lactose free milk?

  • Easy to digest: With the addition of the lactase enzyme, lactose free milk is much easier to digest meaning less digestive tract discomfort such as indigestion, gas, stomach pains, bloating and diarrhoea.
  • Builds strong bones: As lactose free milk is cow’s milk, it contains all the same beneficial nutrients including calcium and vitamin D, to assist with building healthy bones. In fact, one cup of regular lactose-free milk meets 30 per cent of your recommended daily intake for calcium and 25 per cent of your recommended daily intake for vitamin D.
  • High in Protein: protein is a building block for our bodies, it aids in muscle recovery post exercise and supports our immune system. One cup of lactose free milk has 8 grams of complete protein and therefore provides all the essential amino acids your body needs to function.
  • It’s a touch sweet: If you like your cereal sweeter then you can skip the sugar on top with lactose free milk!Due to the process of adding in the lactase enzyme, the milk tastes sweeter and therefore adds a pleasant touch of sweetness to your dishes.  

If you have a sensitive tummy and have always avoided cow’s milk, then now is your chance to enjoy dairy once again. Try lactose free milk to enjoy the nutritional benefits dairy has to offer without the digestive discomfort.

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