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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2009 Oct;22(5):400-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2009.00948.x.

Determination of the lactose and galactose content of cheese for use in the galactosaemia diet.

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Medical Advisory Panel, Galactosaemia Support Group UK, West Midlands, UK.



Treatment of galactosaemia requires a low galactose diet. In the UK, traditionally, all cheeses have been excluded from the diet, although some types of mature hard cheese are likely to be low in lactose and galactose. The present study aimed to determine the lactose and galactose content of mature cheeses.


Over 6 years, the UK Galactosaemia Support Group commissioned the analysis of 109 samples (by two laboratories) of 12 cheese types, in eight batches throughout the year. Cheeses, obtained from retail outlets, were homogenised, sugars were extracted using water or 40% alcohol for fatty samples, and samples were deproteinised. Enzymatic analysis using measuring light absorbance was conducted on filtered extracts.


Cheeses containing undetectable quantities of lactose (<2.8 mg 100 g(-1), Leatherhead Food International, Leatherhead, UK (LFI) analysis; <10 mg 100 g(-1), Laboratory of Government Chemist, Teddington, UK (LGC Limited) analysis) and galactose were: Gruyere (five samples); Emmental (block, sliced and grated) (16 samples); Jarlsberg (six samples); Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano Italian Parmesan (block and grated) (16 samples); and mature Cheddar cheese from the UK West Country Farmhouse Cheese Makers Association (35 samples) only. Lactose containing cheeses included other mature Cheddar cheeses, Gouda and Edam.


Gruyere, Emmental, Jarlsberg, Italian Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano), and mature Cheddar cheese produced in one area of England where the manufacturing process is standardised and guaranteed are now allowed in the UK galactosaemia diet.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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