Lactose reduced milk is milk which has been specially treated to remove or greatly reduce naturally occurring lactose. Most people who have dairy intolerance are actually reacting to the lactose in milk, and some of these individuals can drink lactose reduced milk instead of regular milk. If you have been diagnosed with a dairy or lactose intolerance, you should ask your doctor about allowable ranges of lactose in your diet, as everyone has different levels of tolerance.
To produce this dairy product, milk is treated with lactase to break down lactose. Lactase is an enzyme which digests lactose, converting it into sugars. Most people already have lactase in their bodies; they use this enzyme to digest milk and other dairy products when they are consumed. By adding the lactase directly to the milk, the producer can cut down on the lactose that the body has to process. Some people with lactose intolerance also take lactase pills when they plan to consume dairy.
Just like regular milk, reduced lactose milk is available in a range of styles. Full-fat and non-fat versions can be found in some markets, for example, and some companies make lactose free milk in addition to milk with reduced lactose levels. These companies also produced condensed and powdered milk with reduced lactose, to make more options available for people with lactose intolerance.
Although lactose reduced milk can be consumed just like regular milk, it tends to be sweeter because of the conversion of lactose to sugars. This sweet taste can be a bit surprisingly for people who are not used to it, and it can also have an impact on baking. When baking with lactose reduced milk, you may want to reduce the sugar in the recipe, or make a small batch to see how the food turns out before committing to a large amount.
For people who cannot find reduced lactose milk in their markets, this product can be found by searching online retailers. Most retailers will ship powdered or condensed milk, which is highly shelf stable, and some may also offer next-day delivery of fresh milk to nearby regions. In terms of regular milk, higher fat milks tend to have less lactose, although the lactose content is still high enough to get someone with lactose intolerance sick unless he or she takes lactase pills. Some people also believe that raw milk is easier to digest since it often has a lower lactose level.