Does Milk Have Sugar?

does milk have sugar

It is unlikely that most people have thoroughly examined the nutrition facts of milk. Maybe many people have glanced at the calories or protein, but something like sugar is probably not often considered for review. After all, many people probably wouldn’t expect milk to have sugar. But, does milk have sugar?

Go take a look at the nutrition facts of the milk in your refrigerator or check the carton at the store the next time you go.  The nutrition data will show that milk does contain sugar. In one cup of  milk, there are about 12 grams of sugar. In most cases  this is not added sugar unless it is a flavored milk like chocolate or strawberry.

The main sugar found in milk is known as lactose, which is a natural sugar that is made up of glucose and galactose. Lactose provides a mildly sweet taste to milk. This is the same lactose that many people have difficulty digesting because their body lacks or doesn’t produce enough of an enzyme known as lactase. Lactase breaks down the lactose in the intestines to make it easily digestible.

Most all dairy products contain a portion of lactose because they are derived from milk. However, the percent of lactose contained in a dairy product will vary from product to product. For example, the lactose percentage of milk is about 5%, sour cream is about 4%, and reduced fat cottage cheese is approximately 3.5%. The lactose varies based on how much is removed during the manufacturing process. Generally, a food that contains 1% or less of lactose can be digested easily, even by those with lactose sensitivity. An aged (hard) parmesan or cheddar is something that typically has very minimal (less than 1%) lactose.

In conclusion, does milk have sugar? Yes, milk does contain sugar known as lactose. If it is a flavored milk, it likely has both lactose and added sugar. This can be confirmed by reviewing the ingredients. Take a look at the ingredients below for TruMoo chocolate milk and Borden 1% (reduced-fat) regular milk. You can see that the chocolate milk has sugar listed as an added ingredient whereas the regular milk has no sugar listed since it is only from lactose.

TruM00 1% Chocolate Milk

Ingredients – Low fat milk, sugar, contains less than 1% of: cocoa (processed with alkali), corn starch, salt, carrageenan, natural flavor, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3.

*18 grams of sugar per the nutrition facts

Borden 1% Milk

Ingredients – Lowfat Milk, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3

*12 grams of sugar per the nutrition facts

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