Yogurt is found in the dairy section at the supermarket, but is it actually dairy? Is yogurt safe for lactose-intolerant people?
The Short Answer
Yes, yogurt is a dairy product because it contains milk.
The Long Answer
The dictionary defines dairy as “containing or made from milk.” By this definition, all forms of yogurt are dairy products. This includes full-fat, low-fat, reduced-fat, whole milk, Greek, and frozen yogurts. So, if your lactose-intolerant do you need to avoid all forms of yogurt or suffer the gastrointestinal consequences? Not necessarily.
Lactose Intolerance occurs in individuals whose bodies do not produce enough of an enzyme called lactase. This is responsible for breaking down lactose, the sugar found in milk. When a sufficient amount of lactase is not present, lactose molecules wind up in the colon where bacteria eats them and produces gas and diarrhea.
Some types of yogurt are actually acceptable for lactose intolerant individuals. Varieties of yogurt which include probiotics or live active cultures contain bacteria which feeds on sugar and lactose, lessening the amount your body has to break down. Greek yogurt is especially good for this. But if you really don’t enjoy Greek yogurt, try the full fat variety, as it has far less lactose per serving than nonfat.