Is Butter a Dairy Product, and Does It Contain Lactose?

Is Butter a Dairy Product, and Does It Contain Lactose?

Butter is a popular, creamy fat frequently used in cooking and as a spread.

Even though it’s made from milk, there’s some confusion about whether it’s considered dairy.

You may also wonder whether it contains lactose, a carbohydrate to which many people are allergic.

This article tells you whether butter is a dairy product and/or contains lactose.

What is butter?
Butter is a solid, high-fat food usually made from cow’s milk. It can also be produced from the milk of goats, sheep, or buffalo.

It’s created by churning or shaking cream until it separates into solid and liquid parts called butterfat and buttermilk, respectively. The butterfat is what becomes butter.

Cream is used because it’s higher in fat than milk, thus producing more butter.

Butter contains around 80% fat and only trace amounts of carbs and protein. Yet because butter is so high in fat, it’s also high in calories.

Just 1 tablespoon (14 grams) packs about 100 calories and 12 grams of fat, 7 of which are saturated (1).

In the small amounts usually consumed, butter does not provide many vitamins and minerals. However, 1 tablespoon (14 grams) may contain 11% of the DV for vitamin A (1).

Butter is made from cream and high in fat, containing only trace amounts of protein and carbs.
Is butter dairy?
Anything made from the milk of mammals is considered dairy.

Since butter is made from milk, it’s a dairy product.

Despite this, it’s often allowed on dairy-free diets. While this might seem contradictory, there are several explanations.

People who can’t tolerate dairy usually have problems with either the protein or carbs in milk.

Those with a milk allergy have an allergic reaction to the protein, while those who are lactose intolerant cannot digest lactose, the main carb in milk.

Additionally, some people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may do better avoiding lactose (2Trusted Source).

However, unlike most dairy products, butter contains very low amounts of lactose. Therefore, people who must follow a lactose-free diet are usually able to eat it without problems (1).

Some children with an allergy to cow’s milk also seem to be able to tolerate butter (3Trusted Source).

However, this is not the case for everyone. Even though butter contains almost no protein, even trace amounts can cause a reaction. This means it should not be considered safe for people with a milk protein allergy.

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