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Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 May;53(5):1253-8.

Lactose digestion from yogurt: influence of a meal and additional lactose.

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Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St Paul 55108.


Lactose in yogurt is better digested than lactose in other dairy foods by lactase-deficient individuals, in part because of intraintestinal activity of yogurt microbial beta-galactosidase (beta-gal). The survival and activity of yogurt beta-gal depend on gastrointestinal transit, pH, and viability of the yogurt culture. To evaluate the ability of yogurt beta-gal to digest lactose when yogurt is consumed with food or with additional lactose, 22 healthy lactose-maldigesting individuals were fed 10 test meals. Results of breath-hydrogen expiration, incidence of symptoms, and enzyme and lactose content of gastric aspirates indicate that the consumption of a meal with yogurt does not inhibit, and may slightly improve, lactose digestion from yogurt. However, yogurt beta-gal appears unable to assist in the digestion of additional lactose beyond that normally present in yogurt.

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