What are the different types of lactose-free candy?

Many types of chewing gum do not contain lactose.

Lactose-free candies are candies that do not contain lactose, a sugar commonly found in dairy products that causes digestive problems in some individuals. While there are many different types of lactose-free candy, each type generally falls into one of two categories. The first category includes candies like chocolates and caramels that are specifically formulated to be lactose free. Another category of lactose-free candies includes candies intended for general consumption that do not contain lactose, such as jelly beans and some hard candies.

Carob is often used as a lactose-free alternative to chocolate in baked goods.

When certain individuals consume foods that contain lactose, they experience a number of uncomfortable digestive symptoms. These symptoms occur because these individuals do not produce enough lactase, an enzyme normally produced by the body to help it process lactose. Many traditional sweets are made from dairy products and therefore contain lactose. Fortunately for lactose-sensitive individuals, however, there is also a wide variety of lactose-free candies that can be enjoyed without side effects.

Many people are allergic or sensitive to the lactose found in dairy products.

Some lactose-free candies are made specifically for consumers who want to avoid lactose. Often, this category of lactose-free candies includes candies that traditionally contain dairy products and are therefore typically off-limits for those with a lactose sensitivity. For example, you can buy lactose-free chocolate bars, caramels, caramel disks and truffles. In many cases, the makers of these candies use a non-dairy “dairy” product, such as coconut milk, to mimic the creaminess and richness of traditional dairy ingredients. While these candies may be easy on the stomach of lactose-sensitive individuals, some consumers feel they lack the soft texture and depth of flavor of the candies from which they were adapted.

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A second category of lactose-free candies includes candies that are not specially manufactured to suit any specific dietary restriction, although they are produced without lactose. Many different candies fall into this category, including jelly beans, various chewing gums, as well as “gums” such as bears and worms. Most licorice is also lactose-free, as are many types of fruit-flavored hard candies, especially those with a clear or semi-transparent appearance. To avoid the symptoms of unintentional consumption of lactose, however, lactose-sensitive individuals should not assume that a product is lactose-free based on its appearance, taste, or smell. The only reliable way to find out if a product contains lactose is to carefully read its ingredient list and, if in doubt, contact the manufacturer.

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