Lactose intolerance is the inability to process lactose, a sugar found in milk, caused by the lack of a needed enzyme. Those with lactose intolerance cannot drink cow’s milk; fortunately, there are alternatives, such as soy milk and rice milk. Many people with lactose intolerance begin exploring other options, too, and end up wondering whether milk from other animals, such as goat milk, has lactose.
In general, goat’s milk is considered to be easier to digest than cow’s milk. Unfortunately, however, goat’s milk contains a similar concentration of lactose as cow’s milk. Raw cow’s milk contains 4.7% lactose. In comparison, goat milk is also 4.7%, while milk from other bovids ranges from 4.6% to 5%.
Despite the lactose contents of goat’s milk, it may be an appropriate alternative for some people who cannot drink milk. Goat’s milk is easier to digest, and some people have reported that they are able to drink goat’s milk despite a lactose allergy. The reasons for this are not well understood, but it is believed that the lactose does not remain in the colon long enough for fermentation, which causes the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance. In addition, some people who think they are lactose intolerant actually cannot process casein, a protein contained in cow’s milk but not in goat’s milk, meaning that goat’s milk should not cause a reaction.
Also, cheese made with goats milk does not contain a form of lactose likely to cause issues in those with lactose intolerance. All aged cheeses, including those made from cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or goat’s milk, contain very little lactose.