Top 10 Foods Highest in Lactose

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Top 10 Foods Highest in Lactose

Lactose is a disaccharide sugar made up of a combination of galactose and glucose. Lactose is found primarily in milk (dairy) foods.

At an early age almost everyone has the ability to digest lactose since it is an important source of energy from breastmilk. Later on in life, however, some people lose the ability to digest lactose and suffer from lactose intolerance. (1)

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include gas, diarrhea, and bloating. (1)

Foods high in lactose are those which contain milk. These include ice-cream, milk puddings, hot chocolate, eggnog, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, pancakes, milk chocolate, cottage cheese, and mashed potatoes. (2) Below are the top 10 foods highest in lactose.

List of Foods High in Lactose

Glass of milk1 Milk
Up to 5.2% Lactose
Lactose per 16oz GlassLactose per 100g
25.4g (6 tsp)5.2g (1.3 tsp)
Ice-cream2 Soft Serve Ice-Cream Smoothie
Up to 6.2% Lactose
Lactose per 12oz CupLactose per 100g
21.7g (5 tsp)6.2g (1.6 tsp)
  • 19g in a McDonald's McFlurry with Oreos
  • 10.5g in a McDonald's hot fudge sundae
Dulce De Leche3 Dulce De Leche
Up to 4.9% Lactose
Lactose per CupLactose per 100g
15g (3.7 tsp)4.9g (1.2 tsp)
  • 10.2g per 10oz serving of rice pudding
  • 6.5g per 1/2 cup of egg custard
A cup of hot cocoa4 Hot Cocoa
Up to 4.6% Lactose
Lactose per CupLactose per 100g
11.6g (2.9 tsp)4.6g (1.2 tsp)
  • 19.9g per cup of eggnog
  • 7.3g in an iced mocha
Mac and Cheese5 Macaroni and Cheese
Up to 4.1% Lactose
Lactose per Serving (6oz)Lactose per 100g
7.3g (1.8 tsp)4.1g (1 tsp)
  • 4.7g per serving of Cracker Barrel Mac n' Cheese
A cup of yogurt6 Low-Fat Greek Yogurt
Up to 2.9% Lactose
Lactose per 7oz ContainerLactose per 100g
5.8g (1.5 tsp)2.9g (0.7 tsp)
Pancakes7 Pancakes (Hot Cakes)
Up to 2.4% Lactose
Lactose per 3 PancakesLactose per 100g
5.3g (1.3 tsp)2.4g (0.6 tsp)

The amount of lactose will depend on the amount of milk used in the recipe.

A kit kat bar8 Milk Chocolate (Kit-Kat Bar)
Up to 8.2% Lactose
Lactose per 1.5oz BarLactose per 100g
3.4g (0.9 tsp)8.2g (2.1 tsp)
A bowl of cottage cheese9 Cottage Cheese
Up to 1.6% Lactose
Lactose per 1/4cup (4oz)Lactose per 100g
1.8g (0.4 tsp)1.6g (0.4 tsp)

Most other cheeses only contain 0.5g of lactose per 1 oz slice. (1oz = 28g of cheese)

A bowl of mashed potatoes10 Mashed Potatoes (With Milk)
Up to 0.7% Lactose
Lactose per CupLactose per 100g
1.5g (0.4 tsp)0.7g (0.2 tsp)

The amount of lactose will depend on the amount of milk used in the recipe.

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Top 10 Foods Highest in Lactose

About the Data

Data for the curated food lists comes from the USDA Food Data Central Repository.

You can check our data against the USDA by clicking the (Source) link at the bottom of each food listing.

Note: When checking data please be sure the serving sizes are the same. In the rare case you find any difference, please contact us and we will fix it right away.

Use the ranking tool links below to select foods and create your own food list to share or print.

View more nutrients with the nutrient ranking tool, or see ratios with the nutrient ratio tool.

Data Sources and References

  1. Medline Plus on Lactose Intolerance
  2. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central
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