Top 10 Foods Highest in Lactose

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
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Top 10 Foods Highest in Lactose

Lactose is a sugar created by the 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 nursing milk. Later on in life some people lose the ability to digest lactose and suffer from lactose intolerance. (1)

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

Foods high in lactose are those which contain milk. These include ice-cream, milk puddings, hot chocolate, egg nog, 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 milk

#1: Milk

Up to 5.2% Lactose
Lactose per 16oz GlassLactose per 100g
25.4g (6.3 tsp)5.2g (1.3 tsp)
Ice-cream

#2: Soft Serve Ice-Cream Smoothie

Up to 6.2% Lactose
Lactose per 12oz CupLactose per 100g
21.7g (5.4 tsp)6.2g (1.6 tsp)
-19g in a McDonald's McFlurry with Oreos
-10.5g in a McDonald's hot fudge sunday
Dulce De Leche

#3: Dulce De Leche

Up to 4.9% Lactose
Lactose per CupLactose per 100g
15g (3.7 tsp)4.9g (1.2 tsp)
-10.2 grams per 10oz serving of rice pudding
-6.5g per 1/2 cup of egg custard
A cup of hot cocoa

#4: 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 Cheese

#5: 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 sering of Cracker Barrel Mac n Cheese
A cup of yogurt

#6: 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)
Pancakes

#7: Pancakes (Hot Cakes)

Up to 2.4% Lactose
Lactose per 3 PancakesLactose per 100g
5.3g (1.3 tsp)2.4g (0.6 tsp)
Amount of lactose will depend on the amount of milk used in the recipe.
A kit kat bar

#8: 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 cheese

#9: 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 potatoes

#10: Mashed Potatoes (With Milk)

Up to 0.7% Lactose
Lactose per CupLactose per 100g
1.5g (0.4 tsp)0.7g (0.2 tsp)
Amount of lactose will depend on the amount of milk used in the recipe.

See All 111 Foods High in Lactose

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Data Sources and References

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

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