Parmesan cheese is a popular ingredient in many dishes, from pasta to salads. However, for those who are lactose intolerant, the question of how much lactose is in Parmesan cheese is a crucial one. In this article, we will explore the lactose content of Parmesan cheese and its implications for those with lactose intolerance.

What Is Lactose?

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products. It is made up of glucose and galactose molecules and is typically broken down by an enzyme called lactase, which is produced in the small intestine.

What Is Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a distinct nutty flavor and is often used as a topping for pasta dishes.

How Much Lactose Is in Parmesan Cheese?

The amount of lactose in Parmesan cheese varies depending on the age of the cheese. Generally speaking, the older the cheese, the less lactose it contains.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one ounce (28 grams) of Parmesan cheese contains approximately 0.1 grams of lactose. This amount is considered to be very low and should not cause problems for most people with lactose intolerance.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance occurs when the body does not produce enough lactase to break down the lactose in dairy products. This can lead to symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea after consuming dairy products.

However, it’s important to note that not all people with lactose intolerance will have symptoms after consuming small amounts of lactose. In fact, many people with lactose intolerance can tolerate small amounts of dairy without experiencing any adverse effects.


In conclusion, Parmesan cheese contains a very low amount of lactose, making it a safe choice for most people with lactose intolerance. However, if you are severely lactose intolerant or have been advised by a healthcare professional to avoid all dairy products, it’s important to exercise caution when consuming Parmesan cheese or any other dairy product.

Remember to always read food labels and speak with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your diet or digestive health.