Question: Is yogurt dairy?
Answer: A dairy product is a food or beverage that is derived from milk, which is its main ingredient. In the United States, the majority of dairy products are made from cow’s milk. However, a dairy product can also be made from the milk of other mammals like goats, sheep, buffalos, camels, donkeys, and horses.
Yogurt is considered a dairy product because its main ingredient is milk. It is commonly produced from cow’s milk, however, it can be made from any source of milk that is locally available. Yogurt is commercially made from pasteurized and homogenized milk. Good bacteria or cultures are added to milk to transform its lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. The temperature of the yogurt is held at about 108°F after the cultures are added to spark fermentation. At this point, the yogurt begins to thicken and take on the tangy yogurt flavor. Next, the yogurt is cooled to about 45°F to end fermentation. The yogurt is then ready for the addition of fruit and/or to be packaged.
We should note that yogurt products like Greek yogurt, Icelandic yogurt, and Australian-style yogurt are all traditionally made from milk and are also considered dairy. Although they are made a bit different from regular yogurt.
There are non-dairy yogurt-like products available if you are looking for a non-dairy alternative. These are typically made from soy, almond, or coconut. Some popular brands include Silk, So Delicious, Almond Dream, and Daiya.
If you are Okay with eating dairy but lactose is a concern, there are lactose-free yogurt products available. In case you are unfamiliar with lactose, it is the natural sugar found milk. The body produces lactase in the intestines to help break down the lactose when consumed. Unfortunately for some people, their bodies do not produce enough lactase to properly digest the lactose. This can create problems such as stomach aches, diarrhea, gas, bloating, cramps, vomiting, and various other gut related issues. Some brands of lactose-free yogurt are Green Valley Organics and Yoplait Lactose-Free.
Additionally, not all yogurt is created equally when it comes to lactose. The thicker yogurts like Greek and Icelandic have had additional straining to create their thickness. What is strained away when creating these products is the whey. This whey holds a large portion of the lactose. Therefore, Greek and Icelandic yogurt hold less lactose than regular yogurt and may be an option for someone with lactose sensitivity or intolerance.