The Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse Has Moved.

My old website can be found at www.stevecarper.com/li I am no longer updating the site, so there will be dead links. The static information provided by me is still sound.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on Smashwords.com or Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com or a whole lot of other places that Smashwords is suppose to distribute the book to. Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

I suffer the universal malady of spam and adbots, so I moderate comments here. That may mean you'll see a long lag before I remember to check the site and approve them. Despite the gap, you'll always get your say. I read every single one, and every legitimate one gets posted.


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Coke's New Milk Is Lactose Free

I haven't been back to this blog in a very long time, which means I have to apologize to all those commenters who got hung up by my needing to approve comments.

One big reason I stopped posting here was that nothing was left to be said. After 1500 posts, I found I was repeating myself. That's not fun.

So if I'm back, there must be big news. I mean, really BIG news in the lactose free world.

What could possibly be bigger than the biggest soft drink company in the world rolling out a line of lactose-free milks?

Here's the brief version, as given by Christopher Seward on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Biz Beat Blog:


Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. has the largest-selling soft drink brand around the globe and now it’s “got milk.”
cokemilk2
Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, recently said at a Morgan Stanley Global Consumer Conference that Coca-Cola will roll out a no-lactose milk product that will be in stores in late December.

Douglas called Fairlife, the name of the new product, “the premiumization of milk.” According to a transcript of his appearance, the executive said the product tastes better than regular milk and is better for you due to “a proprietary milk filtering process that allows you to increase protein by 50 percent take sugar down by 30 percent and have no lactose.”

But Fairlife won’t be cheap. “[We’ll] charge twice as much for it as the milk we used to buying in a jug,” Douglas said, according to Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks. A price was not provided.
Coca-Cola has been investing more in non-carbonated beverages such as juices and teas, given a decline in soda sales not only for the company for also for its competitors, especially in North America as health-conscious consumers seek out more nutritious alternatives.

Fairlife is a Chicago company that also makes Core Power lactose-free protein drinks and has partnered with Pinkberry on yogurt development.

They have a long section of FAQs on this new milk.

Is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ real milk?

Absolutely!  It’s 100% real with amazing taste and better nutrition because of our nifty filtration process. Watch our short video to see how it’s done!

Where does the extra protein and calcium come from in fairlife purely nutritious milk™?

It comes directly from the milk!  We filter our milk into its five components (water, butterfat, protein, vitamins & minerals, lactose) and then recombine them in different proportions.  So we never need to add protein or calcium powders – it’s already in the milk!

Is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ natural?

Our skim and 2% milks are natural, but our chocolate milk is sweetened for your pleasure.

Is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ organic?

Just like organic milk, we never treat our cows with rBST growth hormones. However, we offer them 24/7 shelter and protection from the elements, while organic milk cows aren’t able to have the same luxury. Visit our flagship farm to see our industry-leading sustainability and cow comfort in practice.

Is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ safe for kids?

Sure!  After all, it’s real milk. It has as much protein as a typical greek yogurt, with 50% more calcium and half the sugar of ordinary milk. It’s a nutritious part of a daily diet for all ages.

Why does fairlife purely nutritious milk™ have a longer shelf life than ordinary milk?

It’s simply in the processing.  Ordinary milk is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds.  We pasteurize our milk at an even higher temperature for less time.  That gives fairlife much longer shelf life unopened.  After opening, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Where are the fairlife farms?

We source our milk from the farm families that founded fairlife. These farms are located all over the country, with our flagship farm in Fair Oaks, Indiana, open to visitors year-round. Come see us!

Why is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ lactose-free and does it taste different?

Some people find that lactose (the natural sugar found in milk) upsets their stomachs, so we take it out so everyone can enjoy fairlife. You won’t be able to taste the difference (unlike other lactose-free milks).

Is fairlife packaging recyclable?

Yes, our bottles are #7 recyclable. To find out how to recycle your plastic locally, go to earth911.com, click on ‘recycling search’, select the ‘plastic’ icon, select #7 plastic bottles and input your zip code.
The national announcement and rollout brought sudden attention to the advertising campaign they ran in test markets in the spring. Fairlife used images from a pin-up girls calendar of models apparently wearing dresses made from milk, a campaign introduced last year by AurumLight.com from photographer Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz. Multitudes online blasted for the campaign for being sexist, which of course it was, and wondering what pin-up girls wearing milk dresses have to do with selling a new premium milk, which of course is an easily answerable question. Coke is of course not using the already expired campaign.

There are other and better places to vent outrage. What you need to know is whether the actual product is worthy or not. Molly Blake on the Today show website  talked to registered dietitian Michelle Dudash:

“It has a lot of really good qualities,” said Dudash, author of “Clean Eating for Busy Families.” The beverage boasts it contains 50 percent more natural protein and 30 percent more natural calcium than regular milk, as well as 50 percent less sugar.

And it’s lactose free,” added Dudash, an obvious boon to the millions of Americans who suffer from an intolerance to lactose and can't enjoy some of the health benefits that regular milk has been shown to have.

A diet that includes 8 oz. of milk a day is associated with healthy bones and teeth among other health benefits. A study by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that women can lower their risk of PMS by drinking either skim or low-fat milk all month long.

But sales of milk have been flattening out since the 1970’s and half of US adults don’t drink milk. One reason is that milk is perceived to be fattening and sugar-filled.

“Milk isn’t the enemy when it comes to sugar,” said Dudash. “But for diabetics and anyone who is really watching their carbohydrate intake closely, the 6 grams of difference between regular milk and Fairlife can be significant.”

The added protein and calcium also make Fairlife attractive, as it’s essential to have a diet that includes protein from a variety of sources including lean meats, nuts, seeds and milk.

“Fairlife, therefore, can be a good item to add to your protein portfolio,” said Dudash.

Lactose free milk has been available at every major supermarket for years, if not decades. It's normally far more expensive than regular milk mostly because it is made in tiny quantities and so doesn't enjoy the economy of scale that allows regular milk to be sold so cheaply. Fairlife won't change this. It's being billed as "premium" milk, so it may be even more expensive than easily available alternatives. Pricing hasn't been made public yet. The extra protein is a nice selling point, but not a game-changer.

What changes everything is Coke's marketing power. You'll be borbarded with ads about fairlife (small-f) until milk will run out of your eyes and ears. Bad thing? Nope. That's the only way to build awareness in today's world. (And yesterday's, for that matter. Coke figured it out a century ago.) Let's wait and see what happens when it's in every store.


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Raw Milk and Lactose Intolerance Don't Mix

Milk contains lactose. People with lactose intolerance have insufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase. Therefore, they can't digest all the lactose that's present in milk. The lactose that remains in their intestines creates the problems of diarrhea, gas, bloating, and flatulence.

This is absolutely straightforward, simple, basic digestion 101. But what if your agenda is to push the miracle of raw milk? Raw milk is milk. People with lactose intolerance can't drink it, right? Wrong. If you make up your own science, you can prove anything.

You can find this nonsense all over the Internet. Here's one example: from something called The Douglass Report, which is - get this - "Medicine's Most Notorious Myth-Buster." I can't make this stuff up.

But the natural form of lactose that’s found in real milk (i.e. raw milk) isn’t the problem. Raw milk contains an enzyme called lactase that helps your body break down and absorb the lactose. When milk is pasteurized and homogenized, though, lactase is just one of many enzymes that is killed off in the process.

That’s why most people who are lactose intolerant find that they can drink raw milk without any of the uncomfortable side effects that they typically experience when they eat or drink dairy. Raw milk still contains the lactase that helps your body properly process lactose.
Is that true? Of course not. But it sounds science-y. And hey, there's a study:

The best one I’ve found is a survey conducted by researchers in Michigan. It’s not ideal, but it’s still pretty eye opening. The Michigan researchers surveyed 155 people who had been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, 82 percent of them said didn’t experience any symptoms when they drank raw milk.
Studies are serious science, right? I mean, it would be nice to have a reference to the peer-reviewed medical journal that the study was published in, but you can't expect every little blog post to do footnotes. It's perhaps more of a problem when there was no peer-reviewed study to begin with. The Michigan researchers are the raw milk advocacy organization called the Weston A. Price Foundation. Although advocacy groups can do real research, this one doesn't. The FDA dismissed the study as being methodologically flawed.

If you've been reading this blog since the dawn of time you already know all this. I talked about that study in 2008, when I looked at a raw milk advocacy article by David H. Gumpert in a posting called Raw Milk Article Long But Flawed. I followed up in a 2010 post called Study Confirms That Raw Milk Doesn't Work for Lactose Intolerance:
The folks at the Weston A. Price Foundation, apparently having found out that no one who is not already a True Believer will swallow a fake "study" having as much scientific validity as one of those online "test your own IQ" sites. They hired Christopher Gardner, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford Medical School to do a real, controlled study.
Here's the result you get when you conduct a real study.
"The data fail to support our hypothesis that Raw Milk confers some benefit over Pasteurized Milk in the form of an improvement in the experience of symptoms of lactose intolerant adults."
Man, I would have loved, loved, loved to have seen their faces as Weston A. Price when they got that piece of news.

The study findings came out exactly the way any sensible person would have expected, given the known science:
[P]articipants went through three eight-day phases during which they consumed pasteurized milk, raw milk, and soy milk. Gardner notes that "the severity of the symptoms was virtually identical for the raw vs. pasteurized milk, while the symptoms of the soy milk were quite a bit, and statistically significantly, lower."
Why am I bringing this all up again? Nothing's changed, has it? Nope, nothing's changed. But the on-the-ball folks at Time magazine, the ones with the huge salaries and the unlimited research budgets, have just now noticed this study! Seriously. On Time.com on March 10, 2014, I saw this headline, Study Shows Once and for All That Raw Milk Doesn’t Help Lactose Intolerance. I thought this was so important that I needed to share the news with you. Until I read the article and discovered that it referred to the Gardner study that I reported on four years ago. And Time, Inc., doesn't do any better than the brilliant minds at the Douglass Report in giving sources, cites, times, or context.

I am not inherently against raw milk. If you can drink milk without symptoms and have a good local farm available that works tirelessly to ensure that their cattle are clean, then raw milk should be just fine for you. The battle to keep cows clean is a difficult one, which is why outbreaks of disease occur and why raw milk cannot be more than a tiny niche in the milk market. My point is smaller and simpler: there is no difference between raw milk and pasteurized milk for people who get symptoms of lactose intolerance. There is no extra lactase; there are no magic probiotics; there is nothing that will counteract the lactose that is 5% of the milk. This is not an anti-raw milk message: it is a pro-good-science message. It was true in 2010, it's true today, it will be true in 2018.

UPDATE: Time did have a reason to discuss the study now, as it turns out. It finally got published in a journal. Effect of Raw Milk on Lactose Intolerance: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study by Surah Mummah et al., Annals of Family Medicine, March/April 2014, doi: 10.1370/afm.1618 Ann Fam Med vol. 12 no. 2 134-141. Gardner is one of the co-authors. 
CONCLUSIONS Raw milk failed to reduce lactose malabsorption or lactose intolerance symptoms compared with pasteurized milk among adults positive for lactose malabsorption. These results do not support widespread anecdotal claims that raw milk reduces the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
I've removed some of the snarky comments from the original post, although I still feel that Time has an obligation to make some mention of sources in reporting about medical studies. And they are still invited to come here and read.

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Monday, March 03, 2014

Better Tasting Lactose-Free Milk Coming?

"The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."*

More news about better products maybe possibly hopefully some day coming to a supermarket near you.

To talk about the future, you know I'm going to start with the past and work my way there slowly. Feel free to skip a few paragraphs.

Lactase supplements were invented in 1964 by a Dutch company then known as Gist-Brocades. Happy 50th lactase! I don't know what market they were aiming for, since hardly anybody outside of a tiny community of researchers knew about the existence of lactose intolerance, but with high hopes and no fanfare whatsoever the company put out a product called Maxilact. The first Maxilact was a powder that could be added to fresh milk to break down the lactose into glucose and galactose, both simple sugars that the body can easily digest. America got introduced to lactase in the 1970s, when Alan Kligerman bought the rights and started a company now known as Lactaid. Lactase pills are now so common in every supermarket, pharmacy, and discount store that they don't really need much in the way of advertising. Same with lactose-free milks, which use a liquid solution of lactase to break down the lactose before it reaches your body. They can be found everywhere, too, with most major supermarket chains having their own house brand alongside of regional and national lactose-free milk brands.

Today lactose-free worlds is super-shiny indeed compared to the world of 1978, when I learned I was lactose intolerant. I didn't even hear about Lactaid pills until 1984. Milks arrived later, and they started as 80% or 90% lactose-reduced. True 100% lactose-free milks are newer still.

So what can be greater than 100% lactose-free milk in a dozen different varieties? How does better-tasting 100% lactose-free milk sound?

Milk that's had lactase added to it apparently has a problem, a problem named arylsulfatase. Don't feel bad if you've never heard of it. I never heard of it either and I've been studying the field for 36 years. But there it is in Elsevier's Encyclopedia of Dairy Sciences (Second Edition) from 2011. I'm sure it's a steal at $1136 for the ebook edition but fortunately this particular page is available at Google Books. Here's the science:

[T]he development of off-flavor in lactase-treated UHT (Ultra High Temperature pasteurized) milk is related to the accumulation of ρ-cresol - which when present in minute quantities leads to a severe "medical" or "animal" off-flavor. It was discovered that ther accumulation of ρ-cresol in UHT milk was due to the hydrolysis of sulfanated cresol, which is naturally present in milk, by the enzyme arylsuflanase. Arylsulfanase was introduced in the milk as a side activity in the lactase enzyme preparation, and was found to be present in all commercial neutral lactases. DSM Food-Specialties has recently selected a K. lactis strain [of the yeast used to manufacture lactase] that is devoid of arylsulfanase activity.
Who is DSM Food-Specialties? None other than the current parent company of Maxilact. It's taken a while, but Maxilact just put out a press release announcing that a European patent for this new strain of lactase has been granted.
The patent relates to a lactase enzyme, which is free from arylsulfatase. Arylsulfatase is an impurity found in lactase that converts components naturally present in milk to cause off-flavor in lactose-free dairy products, resulting in a limited shelf life. Adding arylsulfatase-free Maxilact® to a dairy formulation ensures that off-flavor development is no longer an issue and the shelf life can be extended.
Only one tiny detail remains open: This new better-tasting milk doesn't appear to exist commercially right now. Certainly not in America. Maxilact is a major player in the small community of lactase so I'm confident that somebody will start using this. Maybe we'll even see a major ad campaign about lactose-free milk, something that hasn't happened in several years.

The future: you gotta love it.

*Yeah, that was supposed to be ironic but nobody had the patience for irony in the 1980s. Besides misreading Timbuk3's catchy ditty about nuclear destruction, we also managed to hear only the first line in REM's "The One I Love" (This one goes out to the one I love/This one goes out to the one I've left behind/A simple prop to occupy my time) and make a wedding song of Sting's ode to stalkers "Every Breath You Take" ("I'll be watching you"). Seriously, an entire decade in which nobody bothered to listen to all the lyrics in a rock song. What's really ironic is that the older I get the less nostalgia I have.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ritter Phamaceuticals Testing New LI Compound

Ritter Phamaceuticals is the firm founded by Andrew Ritter, who has been working to try to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of lactose Intolerance (LI) since he was a high prodigy in a science fair.

Most people here will remember him from Lactagen, a prebitiotic that worked for many and was loudly missed when it went off the market. (See Lactagen No More.)

 Even before that, Ritter had started the work to test a new compound, RP-G28. (See Lactagen Prepares to File for New Drug. Whether it should be referred to as a drug is a semantic technicality that is over my head: the point to take away is that it is undergoing formal clinical testing in order to get FDA approval.)

Drug testing is a long, involved, and expensive process. Progress is being made, though. Ritter just announced through a press release that RP-G28 made it through a second successful round of tests on people.

Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that Nutrition Journal has published the results of its Phase 2 trial of RP-G28, a proprietary oligosaccharide under investigation as a potential treatment for lactose intolerance. The study manuscript entitled, “Improving lactose digestion and symptoms of lactose intolerance with a novel galacto-oligosaccharide (RP-G28): a randomized, double-blind clinical trial” is the first peer-reviewed presentation of the protocol, assessments and results which showed that RP-G28 dramatically reduced the pain and symptoms of lactose intolerant patients.
Publication of this study marks a major milestone in lactose intolerance research, as it is the first well-controlled Phase 2 study for a prescription drug candidate for patients with lactose intolerance (LI). With planning underway to begin advanced clinical trials later this year, RP-G28 may become the first approved medical therapy for LI.

“The Nutrition Journal publication validates the work that has been done by our team to provide a meaningful new therapeutic approach to managing lactose intolerance symptoms, and helping millions of lactose intolerant people worldwide,” said Andrew Ritter, president and CEO of Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “The data gleaned from this study and our extensive research into colonic adaptation as a means of treating gastrointestinal disorders are being incorporated into the design of an advanced clinical program for RP-G28,” he added.

Highlights
According to the publication’s results, a majority of the lactose intolerant patients who began the study with abdominal pain associated with dairy consumption reported no abdominal pain after taking RP-G28 and their symptom relief was sustained for at least one month thereafter, which is a statistically significant result. Likewise, the patients who received the study drug, compared to the ones who received placebo, were 6 times more likely to claim that, following treatment, they could consume dairy products free of lactose intolerance symptoms. See Nutrition Journal, December 13, 2013, Research section (http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/160).
That link goes to the complete study, not just an abstract. A short article in more straightforward English can be found as a .pdf from the pages of the October 2013 FoodTechnology magazine by going to the link on this page

A marketable product, if it gets FDA approval, is still years away, although Ritter appears to be farther along in its testing than Lacto-Freedom. Good news about two major products, preliminary or not, is still good news.   



 

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lacto-Freedom - Sometime in the Future?

Google News allows you to customize a page for searchwords of your choice. I've been following all the articles that contain the words lactose or lactase for years. All stuff that I said here on the blog years ago - and in my books decades ago. Yawn.

Then yesterday, bam. A bolt of lightning. A possible new way of attacking the symptoms of lactose intolerance (LI). It's not here yet. You won't see it for years, even if the testing works - and in the real world testing often fails. I still had to share this with you.

His invention targets lactose intolerance was the title of a story by Jesseca DiNapoli on RecordOnline.com, the website of the Hudden Valley newspaper the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, NY. 

Ken Manzo, who started Manzo Pharmaceuticals in his Shohola home, has a longer-lasting remedy in development. It's a patented, genetically modified probiotic supplement called Lacto-Freedom. Preliminary research on Manzo's invention suggests several doses of the probiotic taken during a 24-hour period will alleviate the symptoms of the food allergy for at least three months. ...
People suffering from lactose intolerance can't digest the sugar found in dairy foods, so it ferments — bubbling into acids and gases — in the large intestine.
Fermentation causes the stomachache, said Manzo, a pharmacist at Aliton's in Port Jervis. The genetically modified probiotic in Lacto-Freedom prevents the fermentation. It stays in the walls of the intestine, properly breaking down any ingested lactose, he explained.
"A regular probiotic produces some lactase," Manzo said, referring to the enzyme that breaks down lactose. "This one is way more."

Our bodies naturally make lactase in the walls of the small intestine so this mimics the way that our digestive tract should work. It's the failure to make sufficient quantities of lactase that results in the LI symptoms we all know.


Ken Lanzo
Ken Lanzo
Enough science. You want to know if this really works and when you can get your hands on it.Well, it works on rats in preliminary studies. The next stage is ... another rat study. Then maybe a human study. If he can get the funding.

Because this is 2014, he's got a campaign going on Medstartr, a medical version of Kickstarter. You can see it at Lacto-Freedom Probiotic. He needs to raise $50,000. By February 20, 2014. Yeah, that made me blink, too. I wish him luck, but...

A couple of other odd things popped up in the newspaper article. He worked with a a California biotechnology company on the first round of testing. That was back in 2006. Why the eight-year lag? Good question.

And that brings up the question of what Ritter Phamaceuticals, the maker of Lactagen, has been doing. Is Ritter the "California biotechnology company"? Probably not. I have news on that too, which I'll save for tomorrow's article.

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Note to Commenters

As you can tell by the dates, I haven't been keeping up this blog. I started in 2005, had a stroke, and then had to restart it 2006, after I could use both hands again for typing. From that awkward beginning, though, it bloomed and ran 1500 posts for another six years.

That's a lot of posts on Lactose Intolerance (LI). I covered everything I could think of saying and then started repeating myself. I hate that. Blogs are wonderful fun when you're saying new stuff that people need to know - and a huge boring chore if you're running the same old stuff into the ground.

The Internet never forgets, so all those words are still available here. If you want them in more convenient form, I collected the really good, new stuff into a book, Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog, volume 1. You can buy it as an ebook on Smashwords.com or Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com or a whole lot of other places that Smashwords is suppose to distribute the book to. Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

People still read this blog and some of your take the time to comment. Unfortunately, like everyone else online, spam is a problem so I moderate the comments and have to approve them before they appear. I've been doing that only about once a month so some of you have had long waits before your comments appear. I'm sorry about that. I'll try to do better in the future, but I won't promise anything.

One thing I need to emphasize. I read every comment and I post every comment that isn't spam. Every comment, even the insults. I wish the people who insult me because I stomped on their favorite form of quackery would refute me by citing a medical journal article or similar respectable source, but they never do. Just "It works" followed by an insult. You can judge the value of those comments for yourselves. Others provide actual useful information and I thank all of you.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Lactase Powder Can Replace Lactase Drops

Hard to believe, but I started this blog seven years ago. That means I've watched entire generations of products come onto the market, leave, and come back again. It's like watching a time lapse movie of glaciers advancing and retreating.

The glaciers are back. Or let me set the scene for the new news.

Everybody who is lactose intolerant should know all about lactase. Lactase is the enzyme that digests lactose, the sugar found in dairy products. Digesting means breaking a complex chemical down to its simplest components: amino acids for proteins, fatty acids for fats, and simple sugars for carbohydrates. Lactose is a sugar, which is a carbohydrate. More importantly, it is a complex sugar, a disaccharide, composed of two simple sugars, glucose and galactose. Lactose is too big to be absorbed into the body through the small intestine, but the glucose and galactose that result when lactase splits it go through easily. Virtually every human - and every mammal - is born with the ability to manufacture enough lactase to digest the lactose int their mother's milk. And most humans - and virtually all mammals - lose that ability as they age. Result: lactose intolerance, defined here as the symptoms produced by the presence of undigested lactose in the intestines.

Until the 1970s there was absolutely nothing that could be done about this. Then Gist-Brocades, a Dutch pharmaceutical firm, discovered a way to get yeast to produce their own version of lactase, which could be harvested. This wasn't artificial lactase, but the real stuff. Or at least a variant.

Quick sidenote about enzymes. An enzyme is a catalyst, a chemical that speeds up other chemical reactions without being affected itself. Left alone lactose would still break down to its simple sugars. It might take longer than your lifetime for this to happen, but chemically it must happen. Nothing stays inside your intestines for more than a few days so waiting a lifetime is out of the question. Lactase, though, speeds up the process to near instantaneously. That ability makes enzymes vital to life. The body manufactures some 500,000 of them. Without them your chemistry would simply stall to a stop. And so would you.

All the enzymes are very complex proteins. And like all very complex proteins lactase can be put together in a multitude of ways. All the lactases work at the primary task of digesting lactose but they can be engineered to work best - i.e., split lactose fastest - under different conditions. Some lactases work best at body temperature and in high acidity. These are used to make the classic lactase pills, capsules, and tablets that you chew or swallow with food. Your stomach is notoriously acidic and always at body temperature.

That wasn't the first lactase that Gist-Brocades found. That lactase worked best in cool temperature with low acidity. Those happen to be conditions found in a container of milk sitting in a refrigerator. So they marketed the lactase as a powder to be added to fresh milk or other liquid dairy products. Once mixed in, the lactase worked over a day or so inside the milk and could be drunk the next day as lactose-reduced and symptom-free milk.

Remember, you can't substitute one for the other and expect it to work very well. Don't try to mix regular lactase pills into liquid dairy. There's no harm to doing so, but you aren't going to have low-lactose milk in the end.

Powders have some disadvantages. The main one that bothered people at the time was that they sometimes didn't dissolve completely, especially if the stirring in wasn't thorough. Powders were on the market for a few years even so. The first version of what then was called "Lact-Aid" was a powder. After a few years, a liquid version was developed. A few drops of liquid dissolved much more quickly and easily than the powders.

Fast forward to 2008. (Look at that glacier melt!) Lactase drops never were a huge seller and for a time every firm in America stopped making them. Customers had to write away to Canadian firms like Lacteeze to get a supply. I called it Huge News! when a firm called Pharmax started making lactase drops available in the U.S. again, saving huge amounts on postage. As I could have told them, the market for lactase drops hadn't increased. They stopped making the drops in 2010.

Lacteeze made them available the whole time, to be sure, and other U.S. firms now also sell liquid lactase. To my surprise, Pharmax is back in business. Making lactase powder.

Product Description

Lactase Powder 1.6oz Supplement

Serving Size: 1 scoop
Servings Per Container: 75
Amount Per Serving: Lactase enzyme 12.6 mg(providing 615 LAU lactase units
Other Ingredients: Maltodextrin.
Recommended intake: Add one scoop of Lactase Powder to water or juice prior to consumption of dairy products or as professionally directed.

I'm assuming this means they've developed ways of increasing the dissolvability of the powder. The reviews on Amazon are positive. You can find Pharmax Lactase Powder on many health sites, so no need to go to Amazon. I found the image of the bottle on the PureFormulas.com site.

If you want to make low-lactose dairy products at home, probably more cheaply than the fairly expensive store brands, you should give this a try.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Lactose-Free Milk Is Real Milk

This is a blog about lactose intolerance. I need to say that upfront because I take so many detours to talk about dairy-free products and lifestyles. The problem for those of us who are LI isn't dairy, of course: it's lactose. You can have all the dairy you want if you watch your lactose content, or use lactase to break down the lactose.

So here I am again, talking about real milk. Not only that, promoting the National Dairy Council. They're not our enemy.

For the National Dairy Council, lactose-free milk - milk whose lactose has been broken down by added lactase - is as much milk as any other variety. They got Deion Branch - a New England Patriots football player - milk a cow as a promotion. Branch, who's about as expert on milking as I would be, obviously would rather be facing 300 pounds of beef across a line of scrimmage, but comes through in the end.

You can see the video at this page. And if all goes well, I've embedded the video below.

If all doesn't go well, then try going directly to YouTube.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

GlutenfreeDairyfreeRecipes.com

A new website for Gluten & Dairy Free recipes is being launched. (I told you vegans and allergy sufferers that I'd have news for you soon.)

Linda Rickman, a mom with gluten intolerant kids, is another in the long line of moms who are kindly sharing what they've learned in the kitchen over the years. Rickman's site is http://glutenfreedairyfreerecipes.com/.

And here's the press release with the details.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes, a new online business based in Colorado, today announced the launch of their website glutenfreedairyfreerecipes.com. This new site aims to provide nutritious and delicious recipes for people who live gluten and dairy free lifestyles.

Recipe creator and Gluten Free Dairy Free website author Lisa Rickman decided to adopt a gluten and dairy free diet when she discovered a gluten intolerance in her children. Around this time, Lisa had a series of private tests done on each member of her family and determined that three of her family members had the Celiac gene, and the other two had a gluten intolerance.

Celiac disease is commonly characterized by a gluten and dairy intolerance in its carriers. It is a condition that prevents the small intestines from absorbing certain parts of food, specifically gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats and should be avoided by people with Celiac disease.

Recipes on the site range from smokin’ good chicken to gluten free pretzels, and also include gluten and dairy free desserts, low calorie shakes, and a bean bread recipe. Something for everyone!

“As a mom who wants only the best for her children and their health, that means knowing what goes into their food and ultimately their bodies,” says Rickman. “I am constantly cooking for them and with them. My hope is that they grow up knowing what is good for them and that healing can happen through food and taking care of themselves is the best way to honor their bodies. Oh yeah… and that gluten free food can taste amazing too!”

Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes aims to accomplish the following:

• Provide recipes to the gluten and dairy free community on an ongoing basis to support this lifestyle
• Make it easy for those with dietary restrictions to eat healthy and nutritious food
• Recommend our favorite cooking products and ingredients based on experience
• Serve as a convenient, go-to website for other busy parents and individuals who strive to create the healthiest lifestyle possible for themselves and their families
• And help others enjoy their time spent in the kitchen along the way!

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Low-Lactose Milk Straight From the Source

"Scientists at a north China university say they have bred the world's first genetically-modified calf that will produce low-lactose milk in two years."

That ought to make you bolt upright in your seats, and your eyeballs pop out of your head.

Imagine. Low-lactose milk, low-lactose dairy products, low-lactose everything. That's a dream come true for those of us who are lactose intolerant. (Sorry, allergy sufferers and vegans. You can stop reading now. I'll get to articles for you pretty soon, though.)

I haven't seen anything about this breakthrough in the U.S. media, but it's big news all over Asia. That first paragraph is taken from Xinhaunet.com, a Chinese English-news website, under the title of "Genetically engineered, low-lactose dairy calf bred in China."

A more detailed article can be found on Pakistan's national newspaper's site, The Nation.

The technique is similar to the one that created Dolly, the closed sheep, back in 1996. Instead of making an exact duplicate, though, one gene is changed so that the cow will produce a "lactose dissolution enzyme" that will break down the milk's lactose into glucose and galactose, exactly as the lactase in a pill does.

We're still very much in the experimental stage, so don't expect natural Chinese low-lactose milk to show up on your grocery shelves very soon. Only one of the 14 modified embryos made it to calfhood. She has to grow up and start producing milk before we know for sure that the technique is viable and that's a minimum of two years. A herd of low-lactose cows is farther out on the horizon and the generally availability of the milk is in Jetsons territory.

I'm encouraged by the news, nevertheless. It means that some scientists are actually thinking about the problem of lactose intolerance. Few if any do in the U.S. Here it's a settled issue for a tiny minority and shows no signs of ever growing in interest. Not so in Asia, where several billion LI consumers are becoming a viable market.

The path won't be easy even in Asia. Any gene changes, even for something as absolutely benign as manufacturing lactase, is like waving red flags at a segment of the population. Genetically modified (GM) foods are going to be a stormy issue all over the world. The discussion of it won't be rational, because it touches on primal feelings on what people fell is "right". And it's absolutely true that GM techniques can result - inadvertently or deliberately - in horrible harm. I know that's true because everything, every single thing, every change, every advance, every invention, every policy, every law, every idea can result - inadvertently or deliberately - in horrible harm. Banning all GM because it can result in harm deprives us of all the amazingly huge piles of good that the technique is also capable of. That's bad science and bad logic. We need to examine issues one by one to determine whether their possible value outweighs the possible ills. Low-lactose cows seem to fall squarely on the side of value. We won't know for sure for many years, but I find this good news to read.

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

Best Dairy-Free Summer Desserts

Consumer Reports is a noted buzzkill, so none of you should be surprised that they gave poor reviews to a couple of dairy-free frozen treats, as I recently reported. Those aren't the only treats for us in the world, fortunately. Starre Vartan, the self-titled Eco-Chick (and possibly self-named Starre, although who can tell these days?) reviewed Tofutti and several other brands on the Mother Nature Network. "Best Dairy-Free Summer Desserts" is her title for the article; I'm just reporting.

Coconut Bliss (and the Trader Joe’s version of it) is a slightly-coconutty flavored, richly creamy dessert. Seriously delicious, give it a try! It's gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free and vegan, and I like to mix it with the Cashewtopia (below) for a truly decadent dairy-free experience.
Best Flavor: Chocolate (which pairs ideally with the natural coconut base)

Rice Dream makes a frozen dessert based on its popular rice-based beverage. While it doesn’t taste like rice, it definitely doesn’t have the fatty, tongue-coating richness of traditional ice cream. Like Rice Dream milk, it has a bit of a watery texture, but not in a bad way; in the summer it feels like a guilt-free and more refreshing version of a heavier dessert. I find it ideal for rich-tasting smoothies and paired with granola for an afternoon snack.
Best Flavor: Creamcicle (great for smoothies with other fruits, totally delicious on its own)

Cashewtopia Gelato, by Organic Nectars is my absolute winner in the non-dairy dessert category. Made from cashew nut milk, it has a crazy-creamy texture and a is very filling, in the way that ice cream is (if you end up eating it for a meal, don’t blame me. And since it's sweetened with agave, it won't hurt your blood sugar, it's made from all raw ingredients, so retains a ton of the natural ingredients' nutrition, and is all organic. LOVE!
Best Flavor: Chocolate Hazelnut (it's a very mild chocolate but that pairs perfectly with the abundant raw hazelnuts in each bite)

Tofutti: I don’t love plain old tofutti all by its lonesome – like the tofu upon which it’s based, it really needs to be paired with something else to really ‘pop’ – I like mine with a bunch of berries swirled in (as you can probably tell, I like fruit with my desserts), or made into an ice-cream sandwich. Or you can just buy the famous and beloved Tofutti Cuties, which are mini versions of the traditional ice cream sandwich. Truly a vegan ice cream treat.
Best Flavor: Tofutti Cuties Sandwiches

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