Monday, July 30, 2012

Aged Cheese is Lactard Safe

You might think I'm crazy but I eat cheese.  Don't be shocked, you should be able to too!

I decided to write this particular blog post after receiving a question on my blog.  I know I have mentioned that Cabot cheese is lactose free in the past (several times) but I thought I would delve more deeply into the WHY so you don't have to just take my word for it.

I started at a part of Cabot's website.  Many of Cabot's cheeses are lactose free and they give a little information as to why.  Apparently ANY aged cheese should not affect us lactards.  After cheese is made the lactose disappears in about 3-4 weeks.

photo from
From there I moved on to The Mayo Clinic where I learned that lactose is a sugar (I did know that already).  Lactase is the enzyme that breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose and it is produced in the small intestine (did not know that!)  Some of the symptoms are: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, bloating and gas.  The Mayo Clinic recommends that if you are experiencing any symptoms that worry you, you should definitely see your doctor.
If the lactose is not broken down in the small intestine it moves on to your colon where your normal bacteria interacts with it which I guess causes the symptoms (can be as quick as a half hour after ingesting or up to 2 hours later).  There are also 3 different kinds:
  1. A result of aging: as you age your lactase production decreases
  2. Result of illness or injury: Celiac Disease, Gastroenteritis, Irritable Bowel Disease and Crohn's Disease are a couple of the conditions that can cause lactose intolerance.  With treatment of the underlying cause this type of lactose intolerance can improve over time.
  3. Congenital (Born this way baby - Lady GaGa) Lactose Intolerance:  This means you got it from your parents.  Another thing you can blame on them ;).  If you have always been lactose intolerant then you are the recipient of an autosomal recessive gene from each of your parents.  If you only got it from one them you wouldn't be intolerant because your dominant gene would override.
Sadly, there is currently no cure or way to boost your body's production of lactase.

So lets talk cheese.  The bacteria (good, intended bacteria) that assists in the aging process of cheese digests the lactose sugar leaving the cheese lactose free after several weeks according to Livestrong.  

Many cheeses are lactose free (aged: Cheddar, Mozzarella, Colby, Swiss and Cottage Cheese).  I like Cabot cheese because I think they have an EXCELLENT product and they are pretty local to me, I like to support local stuff.  I have also found that Kraft has several lactose free cheeses (SHOCKED!) as does Lactaid.  If you look at the packaging of the cheese you would like to eat look for "Lactose Free" or "0g of Lactose."  Careful with trying any new product though, I believe that this only means that the amount of lactose is below the legally reportable amount and you may still be sensitive.  Start small and see how it goes.  I clearly eat Cabot cheese all the time so I'm very trusting of them and I'm a VERY VERY sensitive lactard.

Hope this helps!

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