You probably have wondered “does goat cheese have lactose?” if you love this type of cheese but have difficulty digesting lactose. Milk coming from mammals like cows, goats, and even humans contains the natural milk sugar known as lactose. Goat cheese does have lactose because it is derived from goat’s milk. However, many people with lactose intolerance or sensitivity can consume some degree of lactose, including goat cheese, and not experience symptoms of lactose intolerance.
The lactose in cheese is generally much lower than other dairy products. This is because when bacteria is added to create the cheese it starts to minimize the amount of lactose. The lactose will continue to be reduced through moisture elimination as the cheese ages and hardens. Generally, harder, aged cheese will have the least amount of lactose. Goat cheese varies on the time it is aged and as a result, its firmness and lactose will also vary. Typically, goat cheese is aged less than 6 months. Compare this to something like an extra sharp cheddar that can be aged well over a year and has minimal lactose content.
Debatably, goat cheese is believed to have an advantage over cow milk cheese when it comes to digestibility. Goat milk is said to be more easily digestible because there are fewer milk byproducts left to stir around in the digestive to cause stomach problems. The superior digestibility of goat’s milk is believed to be because it contains a softer casein curd and smaller fat globules in comparison to cow’s milk [source]. However, when it comes to lactose, the lactose content in goat’s milk is virtual the same as it is in cow’s milk.
As many people who suffer from lactose intolerance know, finding out if a dairy food is agreeable to your digestive system often involves trial and error. Goat cheese is no exception. It is best to try out a small portion of cheese, see if you notice any side effects, and then gradually increase the serving size.