This pilot study compared inhibition of the glycaemic response to glucose by a dietary source of quercetin glucosides (onion) in lactose-tolerant adults (n=12) and lactose-intolerant adults (n=12). We hypothesised that lactose-intolerant people (who do not express lactase) will retain intact quercetin glucosides that can inhibit glucose uptake via the glucose transporter SGLT1, whereas lactose-tolerant people (who do express lactase) will hydrolyse quercetin glucosides to free quercetin that does not inhibit glucose uptake. In a glucose tolerance test, reduction in peak glucose levels by an onion meal was higher in lactose-intolerant people than in lactose-tolerant people (44.2 versus 19.3%, P=0.04). Incremental area under the blood glucose curve was reduced more in lactose-intolerant people, but was not statistically significant (54.5 versus 42.1%, P=0.42). A diet containing quercetin glucosides may be of greater benefit for glycaemic control in lactose-intolerant people than in lactose-tolerant people.