How is lactose-free yogurt made

How is lactose-free milk made?

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The milk sugar lactose is broken down into its basic sugar with the help of the enzyme lactase (beta-galactosidase). Dairy products declared as lactose-free may still contain some lactose, but are usually well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance.

People who are affected by lactose malabsorption do not tolerate the milk sugar in milk and dairy products such as yogurt, quark and cream cheese because they cannot completely break it down in the intestines. Various dairies therefore offer lactose-free milk products. Products with less than 0.1 grams of lactose per 100 grams of food are considered to be lactose-free and therefore well tolerated. In order to remove the lactose, the dairies treat the milk with the enzyme lactase. This splits the milk sugar lactose into its two starting sugars, glucose and galactose. Since both types of sugar are slightly sweeter than lactose, the milk has a slightly sweet taste. The lactase is then deactivated by heating the milk and the milk is immediately pasteurized or ultra-high-temperature. The lactose-free milk is then used to make other milk products such as cream, yoghurt, quark, mozzarella or cream cheese. The enzyme lactase is obtained from molds (Aspergillus) or yeasts (Kluyveromyces). These can be genetically modified. However, German manufacturers of lactose-free milk products assure that the lactase comes from GMO-free production. Lactose-free products are also available in organic quality, especially in health food stores and health food stores. In most shops, only ultra-high-temperature products are available due to the low sales volumes. However, some manufacturers also offer fresh milk.

For many people with lactose malabsorption, it is not absolutely necessary to buy special butter and semi-hard or hard cheese that is advertised as lactose-free. Since butter contains relatively little milk sugar with around 0.6 grams of lactose per 100 grams, it is easily tolerated by many people. With semi-hard and hard cheeses such as Gouda or mountain cheese, the lactose is already broken down during the usual cheese maturation, so that special products make little sense. In the case of lactose-free cheese, however, the manufacturers guarantee that the residual lactose content is below 0.1 grams per 100 grams. Since people with lactose intolerance can tolerate very different amounts of lactose, those affected have to test for themselves which normal milk product they can still tolerate and when the more expensive, lactose-free products make sense.

Kathi Dittrich

Literature:
Lactase. www.transgen.de/datenbank/enzyme/306.lactase.html (accessed on June 15, 2010)
Written information from Heirler Cenovis GmbH Radolfzell dated June 11, 2010
Written information from Omira Oberland Milchverwertung Ravensburg GmbH dated June 17, 2010

Status 2011


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