Goat’s milk is a highly nutritious food that’s been consumed by humans for thousands of years.
However, given that around 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, you may wonder whether goat’s milk contains lactose and if it may be used as a dairy alternative (
This article reviews whether you can drink goat’s milk if you’re lactose intolerant.
Lactose is the main type of carb in all mammal’s milk, including humans, cows, goats, sheep, and buffalo (
It’s a disaccharide made up of glucose and galactose, and your body needs an enzyme called lactase to digest it. However, most humans stop producing this enzyme after weaning — at about 2 years old.
They may also take lactase replacement pills before consuming dairy products.
Lactose intake may cause digestive issues in people with lactose intolerance. Still, they may manage their symptoms by limiting lactose intake or following a lactose-free diet.
Goat’s milk contains lactose
As mentioned above, lactose is the main type of carb in mammal’s milk, and as such, goat’s milk contains lactose as well (
However, its lactose content is lower than that of cow’s milk.
Goat’s milk is comprised of about 4.20% lactose, whereas cow’s milk contains almost 5% (
Yet, despite its lactose content, anecdotal evidence suggests that people with mild lactose intolerance seem to be able to tolerate goat’s milk.
While there’s no scientific research to support this, scientists believe that another reason why some people tolerate goat’s milk better — aside from its lower lactose content — is because it’s easier to digest.
Fat molecules in goat’s milk are smaller when compared with those in cow’s milk. This means that goat’s milk is easily digested by those with a compromised digestive system — as is the case for people with lactose intolerance (
Lastly, if you’re interested in goat’s milk as a cow’s milk substitute due to a casein allergy, it’s important to note that a large number of people with cow’s milk allergy usually react to goat’s milk as well (
Goat’s milk contains lactose. However, people with mild lactose intolerance may be able to tolerate it.
Should you drink goat’s milk if you have lactose intolerance?
People with severe lactose intolerance should avoid goat’s milk, as it does contain lactose.
However, those with mild intolerance may be able to enjoy moderate amounts of goat’s milk and its by-products — especially yogurt and cheese, since they contain significantly less lactose.
Researchers believe that most people with lactose intolerance generally tolerate drinking a cup (8 ounces or 250 mL) of milk per day (
Moderate amounts of goat’s milk may be a suitable choice for those with mild lactose intolerance. Also, drinking it together with other lactose-free products may reduce symptoms.
The bottom line
Goat’s milk contains lactose. Therefore, you should avoid it if you have severe lactose intolerance.
Still, it’s easier to digest and contains less lactose than cow’s milk, which is why some people with mild lactose intolerance may tolerate it.
You may also try drinking goat’s milk with other products without lactose to help reduce digestive symptoms.