What does lactose free actually mean?

What does lactose free actually mean?

As part of our commitment to radical honesty and sharing everything we know with you, we want to provide answers to some of the smaller questions, as well as the big ones…

It’s a term that we hear a lot - but what does lactose free actually mean? If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed in the supermarket dairy aisle, you’re not alone. We want to help you navigate these labels and jargon and support you in making the right choices for your diet. Knowledge is power, Rebels!

Let’s start from the beginning: what is lactose? Hold up a minute whilst we intro Jamie, our Head Technical Rebel: “Lactose is a sugar found in milk that can be difficult to digest. The enzyme lactase breaks lactose down into two sugars called glucose and galactose which are easily absorbed by the bloodstream. Lactose free products are made from real dairy that has had lactase added to break down the lactose before it enters the body, doing the hard work for us. Often with this method, the milk is pasteurised after the lactose has been removed, to deactivate the lactase.” Simple, huh?

For many, lactose can be problematic if their body doesn't produce enough lactase to digest the sugars properly, meaning the lactose stays in the digestive system. It then ferments with bacteria in the gut causing all sorts of unpleasant symptoms and discomfort. It’s not the same as a milk or dairy allergy. 

But, as no Rebel is the same there are loads of different reasons aside from lactose-intolerance for choosing to integrate alternative milks into your diet. We often hear from Rebels who’ve found us because they’re looking for alternatives to support a more plant based diet, but they may not be outright vegan. Whether you’re lactose-intolerant, sticking to a dairy-free diet, vegan or are simply plant-curious, we’re here for it.

What’s the difference between lactose free and dairy free?

Here’s where it can get confusing. Lactose free is the same as dairy free, right? Wrong. Lactose free doesn’t always mean dairy free, and lactose free is not the same as dairy free. Products labelled as lactose free still contain dairy: they are simply milk products without the sometimes-problematic-sugars, whereas dairy free means there’s neither dairy nor lactose. More simply put there’s no cows involved! 

Does lactose free milk taste different?

Many people find that lactose free milk tastes slightly sweeter than regular milk. This is due to the glucose and galactose which are released as bi-products from the broken-down lactose. For those that love the taste of dairy milk, this can be a bit of a deal breaker, especially in tea and coffee. 

Enter Mylk™.  We’re pretty unique in that instead of being a nut or coconut milk, we we blend quality, organic plant ingredients to mimic the taste and experience of a regular dairy milk. It tastes pretty delicious, if we do say so ourselves! And even better, it’s lactose free, dairy free and vegan so you don’t have to compromise on health, taste, texture or ethics. It’s also completely carbon neutral. Pretty cool eh?

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