My gurt has plenty of toes. Thanks for asking.
I cannot comment on the main question, since the answer varies by brand and type of yogurt.
As for the followup in the question details, you're right – the live cultures in some yogurts continue to break down lactose, and these yogurts have significantly lower lactose levels – usually to the point where they are a safe and healthy way for the lactose-intolerant to get our daily calcium fix.
Two guidelines for finding lower-lactose yogurts:
- European, or Greek-style yogurt removes much more of the whey from the yogurt, making a more solid/firm texture… Since the whey is basically milk solids, this means less milk in the yogurt, and thus less lactose.
- Lactose is a form of sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate. The lower the carbs in your yogurt, the lower the total sugar, and in almost all cases, less lactose.
You might look into one of the more popular commercial brands available in most supermarkets, like Fage and Chobani… Or just use the above two points to narrow down the less-well-known varieties you find in alternative/ethnic groceries, farmers markets, etc.
Oh, and if your intolerance is severe: avoid inactive yogurt, including frozen yogurt – freezing makes bacteria pretty darn inactive, which means more yummy lactose for you and your irritable digestive system.