Why You Need To Watch Out For Lactose As An Ingredient If You're Vegan

In recent years, the vegan lifestyle has become increasingly popular amongst people looking to eliminate animal products from their life for one reason or another. Often times there is some confusion around what differentiates a plant-based versus vegan lifestyle. To clarify, veganism is the complete and total removal of animal and animal-derived products, not only from your diet but from your life in general, according to The Vegan Society.

Animal products can be found in anything from skincare and beauty products to the wax coating used to preserve fruit, so those looking to achieve a vegan lifestyle must be vigilant when making product selections. As vegan.org noted, not all labels are forthright when it comes to explaining which ingredients may have come from an animal source.

To be totally sure that the product you intend to purchase is free from animal products or animal byproducts, looking for the Certified Vegan logo can make your decision easier. However, this symbol is not currently a labeling requirement and is not always shown on the packaging. To ensure that you're purchasing truly vegan products, according to Vegan Food and Living, it may be best to familiarize yourself with commonly disguised ingredients so you can better avoid them.

Its important to know where lactose comes from

Avoiding things like beef, pork, and chicken are no-brainers for practicing vegans. Avoiding things like cheese, yogurt, and products that are obviously derived from dairy are also easily spotted. However, according to Healthline, vegans should also avoid any product that includes lactose listed as an ingredient. This is due to the fact that lactose is actually a dairy derivative.

Per the Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, lactose is a natural byproduct of cheese making, making this very common ingredient off limits for vegans. Lactose is the sugar found in all animal milk and therefore something that should be avoided by vegans in all forms. Unfortunately, due to the wide range of uses for lactose, it can also be found in things other than dairy products. According to The Globe and Mail, lactose can also be found in things like bread, instant soups, and drink mixes.

Vegan substitutes for dairy have come a long way

The options for vegan-dairy substitutions have dramatically increased in recent times. Tons of innovative solutions have hit the market and in some cases, can even fool your taste buds into thinking it's the real thing. According to Veganuary, there is a delicious non-dairy substitution for every traditional product under the sun. In addition to the new vegan products being created, there is a laundry list of foods you never knew were vegan, to begin with, that you already know and love.

With the increased demand for vegan products, also came tons of substitutions. For example, if you absolutely can not stomach black coffee, try a vegan-friendly brand of creamy oat milk or almond milk. If a buttery grilled cheese was your go-to comfort food, fear not, melty goodness still exists in the form of vegan cheese slices and shreds. There are even subscription-based vegan and cruelty-free boxes you can try. According to Tasting Table, the demand for vegan and plant-based dairy alternatives is heading nowhere but up. This is great news for vegans who are always on the lookout for tastier substitutions for traditional, animal-derived products.