Parmesan Cheese Actually Has Less Lactose Than You'd Think

Naturally low in fat, free of carbs, and lactose-free, Parmigiano-Reggiano has plenty of health benefits

“Parmesan cheese is a good source of protein and fat. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin A, vitamins B6 and B12, phosphorus, zinc, and copper,” Leah Silberman, RDN, told INSIDER. “Harder cheeses like parmesan or provolone tend to be the best options. In general, the harder cheeses have a higher protein content and lower fat content.”

An ounce of parmesan packs about 10 grams of protein. And, according to a report about parmesan cheese and bone health published in the US National Library of Medicine, authentic parmesan is easy to digest due to its probiotic effects and it is rich in calcium. According to the report, the cheese’s high calcium content can be beneficial for bone health and osteoporosis prevention. 

Read More: 14 foods that have a lot more protein than you think

Can Dogs Have a Little Bit of Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese is not bad for dogs. It is alright to sprinkle parmesan cheese on your dog’s food or offer them a small serving, as it is full of nutrients.

Since parmesan cheese has a high sodium content, it is essential to note that you should give your dog cheese once in a while and in moderate amounts. Also, puppies can not eat parmesan cheese since their digestive system is not well developed.

If your dog is lactose intolerant, avoid cheese altogether.


Were not against Western medicine (actually, its great! Science!), but were also fans of listening to our bodies. 

Try going without dairy — or some dairy, or cheese, or milk — for a week or two to see how you feel.

How Should You Feed Your Dog Parmesan Cheese?

Let say, if you want to treat your dog for not crossing the fence, you can serve cheese to them.

To avoid choking, you must always give cheese to your four-legged friend in small bits and pieces. Always serve dogs grated or small slices since they quickly eat grated parmesan cheese. Dogs can also eat powdered or crips of parmesan cheese.

Dogs eat cheese when you sprinkle it on their food. Most dogs love to eat cheese; therefore, you can use it as an occasional treat to make your fur baby happy and encourage good behaviors.

What are the health benefits of Parmesan cheese?

Unlike other kinds of cheeses, which could be high in unhealthy saturated fat and sodium and not offer much in the way of nutrients, Parmigiano-Reggiano boasts multiple health benefits.

Packed with protein

Supan says Parmigiano-Reggiano has 10 grams of protein in a one-ounce serving. “To give you a visual of that, one ounce would be somewhere between a quarter cup and a third of a cup if we were to shred it up. Ten grams of protein for that much cheese is really incredible.”

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High in calcium

Parmigiano-Reggiano is also a great source of calcium. Using the same serving size as above, you’ll get “at least a quarter of your daily value of calcium,” Supan says. That’s important for sustained bone health, especially as you get older. “When you’re younger, you’re more inclined to drink milk and have more cheese and other things that give you a lot of calcium in your diet,” she adds. “As you get older, you tend to not get nearly as much calcium as you need.”

Supan adds that Parmigiano-Reggiano’s calcium and the protein are high-quality because they have “very high bioavailabilities,” meaning your body can use these elements efficiently.

“Your body can absorb most of that calcium, and break down most of that protein really easily, which is fantastic,” Supan says. “Some things that you eat might have certain ingredients and nutrients you need, but your body struggles to break them down in the way you need them.”


If you find yourself with unpleasant digestive issues after eating foods with lactose, you’re not alone. “That’s something I hear all the time from people as they’ve gotten older — their ability to tolerate milk or ice cream goes way down,” Supan says. Parmigiano-Reggiano “saves the day,” however: “The way it’s put together leaves us with a cheese that has very, very little lactose in it. And it’s actually so low that we consider it a lactose-free product.”

Low in fat and carbohydrates

A one-ounce serving of Parmigiano-Reggiano has roughly 8 grams of total fat and zero carbohydrates. “People often throw caution signs around anything dairy, like butter and any type of cheese, and say, ‘Oh, that’s too risky, the fat in there’s really bad,’” Supan says. “But there’s a lot of medium-chain fatty acids in Parmigiano-Reggiano. As we study them more, they’ve been shown to have some health benefits.” These fats, which are found in things such as coconut oil, can potentially lower cholesterol and blood sugar.

A good source of probiotics

Parmigiano-Reggiano contains lactobacillus bacteria, which is a good bacteria “that keeps your guts happy,” Supan says. “The more we learn about our gut health, and keeping our stomachs and guts healthy, we’re finding it has a huge impact on our overall health.” For example, this could translate to a stronger immune system. “We’re starting to see relations between probiotics and gut health with everything,” she adds.

3. Cheddar

Cheddar is one of the most common cheeses available, and for good reason. With a variety of sharpness levels, you can find the right type of cheddar for your tastebuds or dish. Both mild and sharp kinds of cheddar have between zero and two percent lactose content. The character of cheddar cheese will differ depending on where it is produced, the color of the cheese, and how sharp the cheese is. Cheddar is a natural cheese that can vary between off-white and orange.

Nutrition Facts

Now that we have analyzed some of the benefits Parmesan can provide, we’ll now examine the full nutrition profile.

The tables below show the calories, macronutrient and micronutrient composition of the cheese per 100 grams (5).

Calories and Macros

Calories / Macronutrient Amount 
Calories 392 kcal
Carbohydrate 3.2 g
Fiber 0 g
Sugar 0.8 g
Fat 25.8 g
Saturated Fat 16.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Protein 35.8 g

Parmesan is a rich source of fat and protein, and it contains minimal carbohydrates.


Vitamin Amount (% RDI)
Vitamin B12 20 %
Vitamin B2 20 %
Vitamin A 8 %
Vitamin D 7 %
Vitamin B6 5 %
Vitamin B5 5 %
Vitamin B1 3 %
Vitamin K1 2 %
Folate 2 %
Vitamin B3 1 %
Vitamin E 1 %

Parmesan contains vitamins B12 and B2 in moderate amounts, and smaller quantities of a wide range of vitamins.


Vitamin Amount (% RDI)
Calcium 118 %
Phosphorus 69 %
Sodium 67 %
Selenium 32 %
Zinc 18 %
Magnesium 11 %
Iron 5 %
Potassium 3 %
Copper 2 %
Manganese 1 %

Parmesan supplies a broad range of minerals, and it is particularly rich in calcium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc.

Key Point: Parmesan cheese is a nutritious food that provides a wide range of nutrients.

Must-try Wisconsin Parmesan Cheeses

BelGioioso American Grana: Crafted by legendary Master Cheesemaker Gianni Toffolon, BelGioioso’s American Grana is a sterling example of what Wisconsin parmesan is all about. This cheese is made from raw cow’s milk gathered every day from local farmers in America’s Dairyland. Each wheel is hand-turned and monitored to ensure the highest quality. The result? An award-winning cheese that combines the best of Italian tradition with Wisconsin ingenuity. 

Sartori SarVecchio Parmesan: This mellow and fruity parmesan has won countless accolades– and with one bite, you’ll understand why. Made by one of Sartori’s Master Cheesemakers, Larry Steckbauer, SarVecchio represents 35 years of cheesemaking experience and passion. SarVecchio is delightfully crumbly and slightly crunchy, owed in part to the 20 months of aging that develops the crystalline texture that parmesan is famous for.  

Cello Copper Kettle Parmesan: As the name suggests, Cello’s parmesan is made in small batches in traditional copper kettles before being aged for just over 16 months. This parmesan tastes rich, nutty, and slightly caramelly.  

5. Gouda

Gouda is a dense cheese made from cow’s milk with a nutty and sweet flavor. Although there all occasional exceptions, most Gouda falls between that zero and two percent lactose range. Gouda’s full-bodied, rich taste makes it popular as a melting cheese. Our lactose intolerant cheese-lovers do not have to worry about missing out on fondue if they use gouda as their dip!


If all this talk of parmesan has gotten you hungry for a cheese tasting, you can get Wisconsin’s finest cheeses delivered right to your door with our continuously updated list of cheesemakers and retailers that allow you to order cheese online. Award-winning Wisconsin cheese is just a click away.

Craving something else? Choose from our selection of over 300 recipes featuring Wisconsin Cheese. Don’t forget to share your creative cheesy creations with us on Facebook and Instagram.

Also, plant-based cheeses are amazing

And hello, let’s not forget all the amazing plant-based cheeses out there. Miyoko’s currently makes some of our favorite spreadable cheeses right now. They’re similar to Boursin cheeses, with less of the rounded mouthfeel that comes from fat. If you choose these, we highly recommend to take them out of the fridge and let them come up to room temperature so they become a little softer.

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