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What foods have lactose and should be avoided in the diet?

Although milk and foods made from milk are the only natural sources of lactose, lactose often is "hidden" in prepared foods to which it has been added. People with very low tolerance for lactose should know about the many food products that may contain lactose, even in small amounts. Food products that may contain lactose include:

  1. Bread
  2. Baked goods
  3. Processed breakfast cereals
  4. Instant potatoes, soups, and breakfast drinks
  5. Margarine
  6. Lunch meats (except those that are kosher)
  7. Salad dressings
  8. Candies
  9. Chips and other processed snacks
  10. Mixes for pancakes, biscuits, and cookies
  11. Soft cheeses
  12. Milk
  13. Nondairy whipped toppings
  14. Nondairy liquid and powered coffee creamers

Smart shoppers learn to read food labels with care, looking not only for milk and lactose in the contents but also for such words as whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, and nonfat dry milk powder. If any of these are listed on a label, the item contains lactose.

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