Lactose-free buttermilk might be necessary for your baking if you are lactose intolerant or on the low FODMAP diet. If this is you, you have probably noticed that it is hard to come by.
This article will explain whether you need lactose-free buttermilk, and if so, where to find it and how to make it.
Is buttermilk lactose free?
In a standard serving of 2 tablespoons (30ml) of buttermilk, there is 1.2g of lactose (1). This makes buttermilk a lactose-containing food as there is more than 0.1g of lactose per 100g. It is still much lower in lactose than cow’s milk though because buttermilk is mainly protein and fat.
Most people with lactose intolerance are thought to be able to tolerate up to approximately 12g of lactose in one sitting (1). Therefore, people with lactose intolerance can tolerate buttermilk and do not need to use lactose free buttermilk.
In lactose intolerance, individual tolerance to lactose varies from person to person. This will depend on how much lactase enzyme activity you have. You can read more about lactose intolerance in our post “Lactose Intolerance – What Is It? How Is It Diagnosed? How Do I Manage It?”.
Is traditional buttermilk low FODMAP?
However, larger serving sizes of buttermilk should be avoided on the low FODMAP diet.
Ready to buy lactose free buttermilk
At the time of writing this, there are no commercially available lactose free, dairy-based buttermilk products. This is likely because the lactose is relatively low in standard buttermilk anyway.
However, ‘Mill It’ has created a plant-based buttermilk that is ready to buy. As it is plant-based, it is naturally lactose free.
What is buttermilk?
Traditional buttermilk is a thin, bitter and buttery-tasting liquid that is a by-product of the production of butter.
Buttermilk Is traditionally a drink, however is now commercially produced as a thicker liquid that can be used in baking as a raising agent. This is because when added to bicarbonate of soda, it creates carbon dioxide.
Lactose free buttermilk recipes
You can make your own lactose free buttermilk that is also low FODMAP. This requires switching standard cow’s milk to a lactose free alternative.
You will only need the following ingredients:
- 250ml lactose free cow’s milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
Simply mix the two ingredients and leave for 5-10 minutes to thicken.
We have linked three low FODMAP recipes that use lactose-free buttermilk that you can try at home:
If you are lactose intolerant, you will likely tolerate standard buttermilk as it contains only 1g of lactose in 2 tablespoons. However, if you have severe lactose intolerance, then you should try a lactose free alternative. This can be made at home or you can buy a plant-based buttermilk.
Buttermilk is low FODMAP in a serving size of 1 tablespoon. But if you require larger amounts, then you can also try to make your own with the recipe shared in this post.
Article written by Bethany Willson, Specialist Gastroenterology Dietitian, reviewed by Kirsten Jackson, Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert
Beth is UK HCPC Registered Dietitian who specialises in gastrointestinal surgery. Beth graduated from University of Surrey in 2020 with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Last updated on September 1st, 2023 at 09:59 pm