Why aren't there more lactose-free dairy products available in stores? Because you don't buy them.
You can't imagine how much I hate having to write that. But I've been watching store shelves for over 30 years. I've seen dozens of products come into the market - some with huge marketing campaigns - and then quietly disappear. They go away because they don't live up to sales expectations.
Will that ever change? I'm doubtful. For most people taking lactase pills or eating small amounts of dairy is completely sufficient. Those people with real need are the ones with allergies who have to avoid all dairy. Lactose-free won't work for them. Same for vegans. And lactose-free products have another strike against them. Low-selling products are always going to be more expensive than their equivalents. Lactose-free milks are finally available pretty much everywhere but they are always much more expensive than regular milks.
Yet companies keep trying. Why? I honestly don't know. No matter. It's a great thing for those of us who are always looking for more variations.
The biggest name in lactose-free products is Lactaid. Lactaid makes a more complete line of lactose-free true dairy products than anyone else. There's the milk in whole, 2%, 1%, and fat-free varieties, calcium-enriched in all four varieties, Fit & Creamy in low fat and nonfat, and chocolate, not to mention Egg Nog and Half and Half. They also make cottage cheese and five flavors of ice cream.
And now yogurt. They've made it in the past and it went away. But here it is again. Four flavors: vanilla, blueberry, peach, and strawberry. They're marketed in the standard 6 fl. oz. cup and a multipack of four 4 fl. oz. minicups.
Lactaid has a Product Locator so you can search by your zip code to see if it's sold close to you.
Will it survive? That's up to you.
The Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse Has Moved.
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.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Why aren't there more lactose-free dairy products available in stores? Because you don't buy them.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Are germs driving us crazy? Apparently, yes. I walked into a nice diner in Greenwich, CT yesterday and the first thing I saw was a hand sanitizer set up at the doorway. I care more about the staff having clean hands. There's a tirade waiting to happen about the omnipresence of anti-bacterials creating a races of super-resistant bugs, but having caught a bug myself I'm too tired to summon up the energy.
Being the perverse sort that I am, my mind latched on to the counterexample, the times when more bacteria are better for you, not worse. That's the world of probiotics. Yogurt is the most famous and most familiar example. The "good" bacteria in yogurt are helpful in many ways. For those of us with lactose intolerance, their best feature is that they literally manufacture the enzyme lactase, and lactase is what digests lactose. That makes yogurt "auto-digesting," which means that it is better tolerated than almost any other dairy product.
The catch is a small one. The bacteria has to be in "live and active" colonies. Dead bacteria don't manufacture lactase. They don't hurt you any either. The bacteria begin to die off as soon as conditions are no longer optimal for them. By the time you eat any yogurt, there will be fewer good bacteria than in the beginning. No big deal.
One thing that leads to sub-optimal conditions is cold. That leads to an immediate and obvious question: can frozen yogurt still have live and active cultures? This question is huger than ever since the craze for frozen yogurt has moved from the trendiest portions of the coasts (see Yogurt is Hot Hot Hot from back in 2008) to every mall in America.
The answer to the big question is a qualified yes. Some cultures can survive the production process. Probably as importat, the newer, tarter frozen yogurt recipes depend on more of the lactose being converted to lactic acid. It's likely that most of what you try will be well tolerated.
Just for fun, I'm passing along an interesting chart I found on the Yogen Früz blog. I'm not showing it to endorse Yogen Früz. I've had it, and it's fine, but I have no idea how well it compares to the rest of the frozen yogurts in the world. Moreover, any chart issued by one company to tout its superiority is suspect. It may be perfectly accurate, but you shouldn't expect it to tell a full and objective story. All I want it to accomplish is to show to you that an independent testing agency, in this case Brazilian Proteste Consumers Association, can find cultures in frozen yogurt.
More is better for cultures. If you have any concerns, ask at the shop if they have the equivalent numbers available there or on their website. I'm just happy that a hot trend turns out to be something that we in the lactose community can enjoy, for a change.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
I found this tasty bit of promo from Laurie Sadowski sitting in my email, which means I have to share it with you.
THE ALLERGY-FREE COOK Bakes Bread
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free
Highlights include advice on how to:
* convert your kitchen into an allergy-free zone
* interpret ingredient labels to find hidden allergens
* adapt and customize your favorite recipes
* discover the nutritional qualities of over 20 gluten-free flours
* make rich, moist breads without eggs or dairy products
ISBN # 9781570672620 • $14.95 • by Laurie Sadowski
French Bread • Focaccia • Breadsticks • Scones • Gingerbread • Crackers • Multi-Grain Breads
Savor the irresistible aroma and tantalizing flavor of freshly baked bread, straight out of the oven—even if you have food sensitivities! The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread proves that you don’t have to be a magician to work magic in the kitchen. Culinary wizard Laurie Sadowski has crafted an amazing collection of gluten-free bagels, biscuits, loaves, muffins, scones, and specialty breads that rival their traditional counterparts in every imaginable way.
These wholesome, delectable, gluten-free baked goods are completely vegan—free of eggs and dairy products—and many recipes are also free of other common allergens, such as legumes, nightshades, tree nuts, peanuts, seeds, and soy. Not only can you enjoy your favorite baked goods once again, but your friends and family will also dive in with gusto. The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread transforms restrictions into possibilities and makes it easy for anyone challenged by food sensitivities to eat safely, compassionately, and nutritiously—right down to the very last scrumptious morsel.
You can get the book through the usual outlets, but the URL given in the email goes to Book Publishing Company, which bills itself as a publisher of vegan, vegetarian, raw, & natural health books.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
I usually comment on comments inside that post, but this deserves a whole new post of its own. The news is that big.
That comment was in a post called Lactagen Response - It Worked for Her.
I took this stuff about four years ago now and still can drink milk now. It seems like it worked then and is still working fine. I do like my dairy very much. I do notice that if i over do it i still am fine. I was talking to a co-worker about this stuff and she wanted to get some but it is not for sale any more????? what happened??????
What's Lactagen? I've devoted huge blocks of text to it over the years. The first was one of the earliest posts I ever made in this blog, a full six years ago, Lactagen - Questions, No Answers. That started out with some eye-popping prose:
Lactagen claims to be a cure for lactose intolerance. That's right: a cure. Take the product for 38 days and you'll never be bothered by lactose again.
UPDATE: Lactagen no longer uses the word “cure” in its marketing. Its website information has also changed since this was originally posted.
The quote from the Lactagen site also caught your attention:
Lactagen's™ one-time 38-day patent-pending formula allows the gradual and painless re-introduction of dairy into the digestive system. The program painlessly trains the body to be able to digest dairy products without the usual painful reactions. The combination of taking yogurt with live cultures, having meals with the formula, taking specific dosages and with the combination of Lactose, Tricalcium Phosphate, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, FOS and Cellulose Gum and Silica, the body learns how to digest dairy products.
So many more people wrote to me about Lactagen that I did a blockbuster post in 2007, Lactagen: The Big Update, compiling many of the testimonials to its effectiveness - or lack of.
And then in 2009 a quiet press release from Lactagen that I posted under the heading Lactagen Prepares to File For New Drug.
Ritter's first compound, RP-G28, has been developed for the treatment of lactose intolerance. RP-G28 will effectively stand out as the first FDA-approved drug for the treatment of lactose intolerance.
For me that was the biggest news, although I realize that few thought of it that way. I never understand how Lactagen worked. It's known that probiotics that contain certain forms of "good" bacteria have the ability to manufacture lactase in the colon. This lactase can digest the lactose that your body misses. So instead of fermenting and creating gas in the colon - the cause of most peoples' problem with lactose - the lactose is eliminated. This sounds great, except that establishing what's called a colony of those good bacteria in your colon is sometimes difficult and not always permanent. They can get pushed aside by other types of bacteria that ferment lactose. They also get killed off every time you take a dose of antibiotics. Several probiotic products are marketed to people with lactose intolerance, such as Digestive Advantage, that you are supposed to take daily because of this.
How did Lactagen achieve permanence? To this day I have no idea. That's why I've always been iffy about recommending it. I'm innately suspicious of anything I can't understand.
The folks at the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, know a thousand times more about the science than I do, though. If they gave approval to a treatment I would tell the world about it immediately.
Forward to 2011. And the comment that Lactagen can't be found anymore. So I hie over to the Lactagen site. And what I see there is very interesting.
Thank you for your interest in Lactagen® and Better Digestion™. Ritter Pharmaceuticals is no longer offering Lactagen® and its other dietary supplement products in order to focus on new products in the development pipeline. It is important to note that these products were not taken off the market due to health or efficacy concerns. We have enjoyed this opportunity to help thousands of individuals around the world find relief for their lactose intolerance symptoms.
One of these new exciting products in our pipeline is called RP-G28. RP-G28 is a second generation product geared towards treating the symptoms of lactose intolerance long-term. The product is currently being considered for FDA approval and is entering Phase 2 clinical trials. It stands to become the first prescription drug for the treatment of lactose intolerance. Ritter hopes to offer the first FDA approved treatment for the symptoms of lactose intolerance by 2014.
So Lactagen is gone - has been since January 2011, from what I gather - and Andrew Ritter is betting the whole company on that second-generation version he announced in 2009. Five years is hardly an unusual length of time to get FDA approval for a drug. (I dislike the term drug in this context, although I understand its use as shorthand. Probiotics are not drugs in the usual sense.)
Press releases on the site indicate that the treatment is getting favorable attention.
November 2, 2010
Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biological therapeutics company with a focus on digestive diseases, announced today that it has been awarded a grant by the United States government program, the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project (QTDP).The QTDP grant supports the development of Ritter Pharmaceuticals' flagship product, RP-G28, as a treatment for the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
There were over 6,500 applicants seeking $1 Billion in grant funding. Ritter Pharmaceuticals received the maximum awarded amount per project. ...
A unique mechanism of action gives RP-G28 the potential to be the only therapeutic regimen designed to impact the natural factors of the disease and alleviate the symptoms of lactose intolerance on a long-term basis. Phase 2 clinical development is underway.
CenterWatch.com reports that volunteers for clinical trials are being sought. Those announcements were made on June 1, 2011 so I assume that the trials are already under way. I found a page with complete information about the trials on ClinicalTrialFeeds.org.
But the mills of the FDA grind slowly. Even under the best of circumstances you'll have to wait three more years. And that's assuming FDA approval. What if they don't approve? That happens with fair frequency. That's also why drugs are so expensive. The approval process takes money and time, which is also money. And the product has to live up to its claims.
Anything can happen in three years. I make no predictions. Not even as whether I'll be blogging to report on it.