Lactose Alternative Products

Lactose intolerance is a condition of an inability to digest milk and milk products due to an absence or deficiency of the enzyme lactase.

Published October 16, 2013 12:57

Lactose Alternative Products
Sorbets are a good alternative to ice cream

Lactose is the natural sugar found in cows, goat, sheep and human milk. Lactose intolerance is a condition of an inability to digest milk and milk products due to an absence or deficiency of the enzyme lactase. The severity of lactose intolerance differs from person to person and lactase production can also decrease with age. For some, milk and dairy products must be eliminated completely, while for others they only need to be restricted.

Going lactose-free can often be difficult with all of the hidden dairy-derived ingredients often found in food products. This can make reading ingredient lists confusing. The table below highlights suitable substitute products for lactose rich foods.

Milk Soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk beverages, Lactaid (or similar product)
Butter, ghee Soy margarine, canola, olive oils
Butter milk Soymilk (1 cup) combined with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (1 T), plain soy yogurt
Cream (light) Dairy-free soy coffee cream, soymilk (1 cup) mixed with melted dairy-free soy margarine (1/4 cup), whole coconut milk, soymilk (1 cup) mixed with soymilk powder (1/4 cup)
Cream (heavy) Cream of Coconut
Cheese Vegan cheese, soy cheese, aged hard cheese (low lactose levels)
Yogurt Soy yogurt, lactose free yogurt
Smoothies, milkshakes Ensure
Ice cream Rice milk ice cream, coconut milk ice creams, lactose free ice creams, sherbet, sorbet

A nutritional concern with a reduced lactose, or lactose-free diet is maintaining adequate calcium levels in ones diet. One cup of milk, 8oz of yogurt, and 1.5-2oz of cheese equals 1 serve of calcium (300mg). The table below highlights rich sources of calcium from non-milk based products:

3oz sardines with edible bones = 270mg 1 tbsp of tahini = 64mg
3oz salmon with edible bones = 205mg 1 cup of fortified soy milk = 300mg
24 almonds = 74mg 1 cup of fortified rice, almond milks = 283mg
1 cup of boiled broccoli = 89mg ½ cup tofu = 258mg
1 cup of canned pinto beans = 102mg 1 cup of fortified orange juice = 300mg


Thanks to Susie Parker Simmons, MS, RD, MED
Sports Dietician and Physiologist
WTA Sports Nutrition Advisor


The contents of the Health site are for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological, health care or health management advice. The materials herein are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.

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