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Yogurt & sugars: the basics – 1 –

Yogurt and sugars

Yogurt and sugars : the basics

What is plain yogurt made of?

Plain yogurt is made of a few ingredients and especially more than 98% milk and less than 2% milk ferments (Lactobacillus bulgaricus & Streptococcus thermophilus). Plain yogurt is a nutrient dense food. Indeed, it contains protein (~4%), sugars (~ 3.7%), fat (0 to 3.5%), calcium, live bacteria, minerals and vitamins.

Sugars in plain yogurt are represented by lactose

The main sugar of milk is intrinsic lactose. Due to fermentation, as bacteria feed on lactose, yogurt contains 23% less sugars than milk and is easier to digest. In the intestine, live bacteria release their own lactase. Thus, yogurt’s live bacteria improve digestion of lactose in individuals with lactose maldigestion.


  • FAO/WHO (2011). Codex Alimentarius. Milk and milk products.
  • ANSES (2018). Ciqual.
  • USDA (2019). FoodData Central.
  • Source: EFSA (2010). Scientific Opinion. Journal;8(10):1763.

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