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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Does ghee (clarified butter) contain lactose?

I have a friend that is lactose intolerant and she says she has discovered that Indian Ghee has no lactose because the milk solids have been removed. Is this true?

Dr. Gourmet Says...


This is for the most part true. Butter contains very little, if any, lactose to begin with, and only those who are very sensitive would likely react to small amounts of butter. The milk solids that do remain in butter are removed when the butter is clarified (what the Indians call ghee). There might be minute amounts of lactose in ghee, but it is unlikely to be enough to have an effect on those who are lactose intolerant.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet