WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE LACTOSE INTOLERANT?

WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE LACTOSE INTOLERANT?

By Anne-Sophie Rayment

WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE LACTOSE INTOLERANT?

Why do so many people these days seem to be lactose intolerant?

LACTASE VS LACTOSE

The enzyme lactase present in our digestive system is at its highest when we are infants which is necessary when breastmilk or formula are our only source of food.

But as we age, this enzyme in our body significantly declines which is why so many people become lactose intolerant as adults and wonder why this has happened.

They are not alone. Only 30% of adults in the world retain enough lactase to absorb lactose efficiently. Those that don't, may still be able to tolerate up to 1/2 cup of milk without symptoms.

WHAT ABOUT CHEESE?

So why are those with a deficiency in lactase able to still tolerate cheese?

Cheddar and cottage cheese are still possible to consume without issues due to most of the lactose being removed with the whey during the manufacturing process. Lactose also diminishes as cheese ages too.

HOW TO MANAGE IT

Spreading your intake of dairy throughout the day and a change in GI bacteria accounts for the ability to adapt to milk products, not the reappearance of this missing enzyme. So this is a way to be able to still enjoy regular dairy if your body can accept this.

But if you still struggle with lactose, there are many great alternative milks such as lactose free milk, almond, oat, soy, rice and coconut milk.

Just be sure to read the side of the carton. Some come with other unwanted ingredients that are not beneficial to your health.

 

Anne-Sophie Rayment, Nutritional Advisor.

 

Image credit: by @runningonrealfood

References:

E. Whitney, S. R. Rolfes, T. Crowe, D. Cameron-Smith, A. Walsh, Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand Edition, (2011), 1st Edition, Cengage Learning Australia Pty Ltd