Milk and yoghurt proteins were 15N-labelled in order to measure the flow rate of exogenous N during digestion in the human intestine. After fasting overnight, sixteen healthy volunteers, each with a naso-jejunal tube, ingested either [15N]milk (n 7) or [15N]yoghurt (n 9). Jejunal samples were collected every 20 min for 4 h. A significant stimulation of endogenous N secretion was observed during the 20–60 min period after yoghurt ingestion and the 20–40 min period after milk ingestion. The endogenous N flows over a 4 h period did not differ between the groups (44·3 (SEM 6·5) mmol for milk and 63·5 (SEM 5·9) mmol for yoghurt). The flow rates of exogenous N indicated a delayed gastric emptying of the yoghurt N compared with N from milk. The jejunal non-protein N (NPN) flow rate increased significantly after milk and yoghurt ingestion due to an increase in the exogenous NPN flow rate. The NPN fraction of exogenous N ranged between 40 and 80%. The net gastro-jejunal absorption of exogenous N did not differ significantly between milk (56·7 (SEM 8·5)%) and yoghurt (50·9 (SEM 7)%). The high level of exogenous N hydrolysis is in accordance with the good digestibility of milk products. Fermentation modifies only the gastric emptying rate of N and does not affect the level of diet hydrolysis, the endogenous N stimulation or the digestibility rate.