Yogurt — An Autodigesting Source of Lactose

Joseph C. Kolars, Michael D Levitt, Mostafa Aouji, Dennis A. Savaiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

340 Scopus citations


Large quantities of yogurt are consumed by some lactase-deficient population groups. We used breath hydrogen measurements to determine whether lactase-deficient subjects absorbed lactose in yogurt better than lactose in milk. Ingestion of 18 g of lactose in yogurt resulted in only about one third as much hydrogen excretion as a similar load of lactose in milk or water, indicating a much better absorption of lactose in yogurt. Ingestion of yogurt also resulted in fewer reports of diarrhea or flatulence than did a similar quantity of lactose ingested in milk or a water solution. The enhanced absorption of lactose in yogurt appeared to result from the intraintestinal digestion of lactose by lactase released from the yogurt organisms. This autodigesting feature makes yogurt a well-tolerated source of milk for lactase-deficient persons and may explain the widespread consumption of yogurt by lactase-deficient population groups. (N Engl J Med 1984; 310:1–3.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 1984


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