Lactose is the primary sugar in dairy products. When someone is lactose intolerant it means that person has difficulty digesting the lactose. It can cause bloating, cramps, diarrhea, gas, and/or a feeling of sickness. The level of tolerance varies from person to person; therefore, one person may be sensitive to a few bites of dairy while another may be able to tolerate something like a large glass of milk. Not all dairy products are created equal when it comes to their lactose content.
Greek yogurt does have lactose but unlike regular yogurt, a lot of the lactose is removed during the straining process of the whey. Regular nonfat yogurt will typical have double the lactose as Greek yogurt. A 6-ounces serving of Greek yogurt has about 6.75 grams of lactose, whereas the same serving size of nonfat regular yogurt has approximately 14 grams. However, a 6-ounces serving of whole, regular yogurt is closer to Greek yogurt with about 8.5 grams of lactose. In comparison, milk (non-fat or whole) has about 12 grams per cup, while cheeses like American or blue have about 1 gram per ounce.
The benefit of yogurt to other dairy products is that it has probiotics (live cultures) that help aid in digesting lactose. Despite this, many people still cannot stomach Greek yogurt because of their lactose intolerance. The good news is that more and more companies are producing lactose-free yogurt or alternatives. A few brands that offer lactose-free options are listed below: