I recently decided to try lactose-free milk to see if I might have a problem with lactose. I was happy to see Organic Valley has a lactose-free milk. I bought the 2% and it has a sweet taste to it. It tastes like cereal milk - that slightly sweet milk left in the bottom of the cereal bowl. I didn't buy vanilla flavored milk and the ingredients don't have any sweetener that I can see. Is the chemical or process they use to remove the lactose from the milk sweet? The sweetness of the milk doesn't make the tea sweet, but it does give the tea a different taste (I can't place it, but maybe nuttier). Do other lactose-free milks have a similar slightly sweet taste?

  • 1
    Coca-Cola created fairlife milk, which tastes more like milk than lactose-free (i.e. lactase-added) milk. Some of the sugars produced by the lactase are removed to balance it out.
    – Nick T
    Aug 5, 2016 at 15:40
  • Thanks Nick. I've actually tried Fairlife milk, not realizing it was lactose free. It was the ultra filtered process that drew me (plus I'm always trying new things). It's very good and very thick and creamy. Now if they would remove the carrageenan from the chocolate milk life would be great! :D As for lactose, it comes and goes so I've sort of given up worrying. lol
    – Brooke
    Aug 15, 2016 at 16:23

3 Answers 3


When making lactose free milk, the lactose isn't actually removed. Instead, lactase is added to the milk. This breaks down the lactose into its component sugars, glucose and galactose. Lactose is one of the least sweet sugars, relative to sucrose (table sugar). Both glucose and galactose are significantly sweeter than the original lactose, hence why lactose free milk tastes much sweeter.

Here is a chart showing the sweetness of different sugars.

Video and description of process of making lactose-free milk.

  • Is it intentional that both links go to the same place?
    – Casey
    Aug 22, 2017 at 3:20

It's also likely that the ultra-filtered lactose-free variety is not as sweet as the lactase-added milk, since lactose is actually removed in the filtering process. At least it sounds right to me, but I haven't tried it, so take it with a grain of salt.

  • I have tried it. It is not sweet. It's the only one I'll buy.
    – Casey
    Jun 11, 2020 at 21:22

Ultra filtered is less sweet. Fairfield is a great brand for a lactose free milk. Taste better than regular milk but very close

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