"In fact most people who are lactose intolerant are actually able to eat the majority of hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Double Gloucester and Red Leicester," they say. "These contain little or only a trace of lactose due to the processing techniques involved in their production, whereby the lactose in the milk is removed during the cheese-making process."
We live in a health-conscious world, many of us convinced that we're wheat, dairy or gluten intolerant without having even being diagnosed. Apparently this way of thinking is a cause for the misunderstanding that exists. "Unfortunately some people with similar symptoms often diagnose themselves with the condition without being correctly tested for it, so there is a need for a better understanding of what a diagnosis of lactose intolerance means for people’s diets, and which foods, and in what quantities, are likely to trigger symptoms," say the British Cheese Board.
So how will you know whether you can eat a particular cheese if you are lactose intolerant? The British Cheese Board say to look for carbohydrates on the label. Any carbohydrate found in plain, natural cheese (not processed cheese or cheese that's blended with fruits etc) means that there's milk sugar or lactose in the cheese. Because many hard cheeses contain around 0.1g of carbs per 100g, they're declared safe to eat, and most people with lactose intolerance won't experience any symptoms after eating it.
Cheese is one of the world's most popular foods but those who unneccessarily exclude it from their diets could be missing out on its health benefits, which include its high source of protein, phosphorous, calcium and vitamin B12.
For more information on this, and on cheese in general, including recipes, visit the British Cheese Board website.
What do you think? Did you know you could still eat cheese if you're lactose intolerant? Do you think there's a need for better understanding about the condition?