What Yogurt Is Best If You Are Lactose Intolerant? 

 June 26, 2021

By  Diane Miles

Individuals with lactose intolerance can’t properly digest the sugar, or the lactose content, in milk. This condition can be mild or severe, and leads to uncomfortable side effects such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea after consuming dairy products such as yogurt. Because of this, lactose intolerant yogurt lovers want to know about the best yogurt to eat.

Lactose intolerant people can eat yogurt with under 12g of lactose, such as Greek and Icelandic yogurt. If you have a severe case, go for dairy-free yogurt that is made from almonds, soy, coconut, cashews, or oats. Consuming yogurt with under 24g of lactose per day is safe for preventing symptoms.  

The appropriate type of yogurt can be beneficial for people suffering from lactose intolerance. Read on to learn everything you need to know.

What Is the Best Yogurt to Eat If You Are Lactose Intolerant?

Lactose intolerance is caused by lactase shortage, an important enzyme that is produced in the small intestine. Lactase is needed to properly and efficiently digest lactose. This condition results in the inability to properly digest sugars in dairy milk, commonly found in dairy foods such as cheese, whey, dry milk solids, butter, and milk by-products such as yogurt made from cows as well as sheep’s and goat’s milk.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance are all gastrointestinal in nature: diarrhea, bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and stomach pain. They can vary depending how severe the condition is.

Having said that, yogurt has powerful benefits for people who are lactose intolerance, as long as you eat the correct type of yogurt with minimal or no lactose content. The active bacteria in yogurt, called probiotics, can help you digest the lactose. This is why most lactose intolerant people can still enjoy some dairy yogurt on a regular basis even if they are unable to consume other dairy products.

Here’s the Best Yogurt for Lactose Sensitive People

Greek yogurt: When Greek yogurt is being made, the regular dairy yogurt undergoes straining several times to get rid of the whey. This not only makes the yogurt creamier and tangy, but it also removes a lot of the lactose. This is why Greek yogurt contains 4-7 grams of lactose in a 6-ounce serving compared to the 14 grams found in commercial non-fat yogurt.

Icelandic yogurt: Icelandic yogurt, known as skyr, is made similarly to Greek yogurt except for the fact that it’s strained even more. It removes around 90% of the yogurt’s lactose content, and the end result is a protein-rich, creamy yogurt.

Dairy-Free Options

There are countless dairy-free Greek yogurt and regular yogurt options out there that you can eat without worrying about the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Plant-based milk choices are becoming increasingly popular, and they are tasty and nutrition-rich too.

If you decide to make these dairy-free yogurts at home, keep in mind that their composition is different from dairy milk, which means that you have to use a new starter everytime you make yogurt since dairy-free cultures can’t be re-cultured without the characteristics of dairy milk.

Here are some types of dairy-free milks that are used for yogurt bases. If you are going to buy instead of make, always keep in mind to look for yogurt with gut-loving probiotics such as acidopholus, thermophilus, bfidobacterial, or bulgaricus on the label:

Almond milk: Almond milk yogurt is a delicious and nutrient-rich dairy-free alternative. It’s suitable for vegans too, and is widely used as a replacement for those avoiding lactose or cow’s milk in general.

Cashew milk: Yogurt made with cashew milk has a lower sugar content, and contains less additives and ingredients compared to other dairy-free options. Other raw nut milk sources include almonds, pecans, macadamia, walnuts, and Brazil nuts.

Soy milk: Soy yogurt that is made from soybeans contains no cholesterol and saturated fats, and can contain around 20% of your daily protein needs. Commercially made soy milk yogurt usually contains added calcium to provide just as much calcium content as cow’s milk.

Coconut milk: Yogurt made from coconut milk is low in sugar and a rich source of antioxidants. While it’s low in protein, it’s the most digestible type of milk out there. Some people can find that nut-based alternatives are difficult to digest, so if you are looking for something really easy on your digestive system, go for coconut milk yogurt.

Oat milk: Oat milk yogurt is a great source of protein and fiber compared to coconut or soy milk. It’s good to note that oat milk contains the same nutritional value as cow’s milk, too.

Rice milk: Rice milk is one of the most popular non-dairy alternatives out there. It’s rich in essential nutrients because of the germ and bran, plus it’s also the most hypoallergenic type of milk. This makes it an excellent choice for those with high sensitivities to lactose, casein, nuts, or soy. However, rice milk is high in starch so it isn’t a good choice for diabetics who are better off drinking almond or soy milk based yogurt.

Hemp milk: Hemp milk yogurt is high in protein; it’s a complete source for the 20 amino acids you need to keep your body healthy. On top of that, hemp milk is also a great source of 9 essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own.

Best Yogurt for Lactose Intolerance

There are many delicious, nutritious, and gut-loving yogurt varieties out there for lactose intolerant people. Here are some terrific ones to check out, and they are all available online too!

-   Chobani Nonfat Yogurt
-   Plain Soymilk Dairy-Free Yogurt
-   So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt Alternative

Frequently Asked Questions

What yogurt should be avoided if you are lactose intolerant?

Lactose intolerant people can only consume a minimal amount of lactose, or up to 24g per day in yogurt. You can still consume small amounts of yogurt made from cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or goat’s milk unless you’re extremely sensitive to even minute amounts.

What food should be avoided if you are lactose intolerant?

Lactose is common in milk products and by-products; these include yogurt, butter, and cheese. Avoid other dairy-based products such as as ice cream, dairy sherbet, whipped cream, sour cream, and buttermilk. Prepared foods that may contain lactose include bread, biscuits, desserts, baked goods, creamed vegetables, cream-based sauces, instant mixes, instant coffee, potato chips, breakfast cereals, and salad dressings.

How can you tell if yogurt or other foods contains lactose?

The best way to determine if food contains lactose is by checking the label. Lactose or milk products can be listed as whey, milk sugar, or milk solids while other ingredients that contain lactose include cheese, butter, curds, cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, casein, sour cream, malted milk, or whey.

There are also ingredients that seem related to lactase such as lactic acid, lactate, and lactalbumin although they are completely unrelated to lactose.

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