Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or 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.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lactose Free Yogurt and Cottage Cheese

J. D. from Charlotte, N.C. writes:

Why aren’t lactose-free dairy products made into yogurt or cottage cheese? I haven’t found such products at the market, and they would be a good addition to the lactose-free selection.

Unfortunately, J. D. from Charlotte, N.C., had the misfortune to write Ed Blonz, Ph.D., On Nutrition instead of me. You can read Dr. Blonz's answer here.

Here's a better answer from me.

There do exist lactose-free yogurts and cottage cheeses. Lactaid makes a 100% lowfat cottage cheese. It also makes lactose free American cheese slices and ice cream.

Continental makes lactose free yogurt in three flavors.

You can find a listing of reduced lactose milk products in my Product Clearinghouse on the Reduced Lactose Milk Products page.

You can also find store brand versions of these products in some locations. I don't keep track of them because they are too localized, but just ask your store manager.

So why the ignorance about these products? Simple. They don't sell. People with lactose intolerance are just too small of a specialized market. They don't go out of their way to buy lactose free substitutes. Either they do without or they take a lactase pill and keep on eating their favorites.

If you want to support these products, great. Buy them. Request them if they're not available in your local stores. Use that Lactaid product request form I linked to earlier. But if you don't buy them, they will go away. Again. Many lactose free products have disappeared from shelves because sales were too low. If you want to keep them on store shelves, it's totally up to you.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Babies and Probiotics

Secondary lactose intolerance, sometimes called temporary lactose intolerance, is something that hits about 10-15% of all babies at some point in infancy. It occurs when their delicate intestines are damaged by an illness or medication so that the ability to manufacture the lactase enzyme is knocked out. As the name implies, this is usually a temporary loss. After a few weeks, the intestines heal and the lactase start to flow again.

Is there anything a parent can do to help? Probiotics are one suggestion.

Are probiotics for every child? is an article on the site. It discusses a study done in South Africa:

Diarrhoea is one of South Africa’s biggest causes of death among children under the age of five. Unable to replace fluids, babies become weak and dehydrated, and the results are tragic.

It is in terms of prevention and treatment (in conjunction with oral rehydration solution) of babies with diarrhoea that probiotics work their magic most startlingly.

In one study, children aged between six and 36 months, who were hospitalised with diarrhoea, were split into two groups. One group received a probiotic called Lactobacillus reuteri and the other a placebo. Both groups also took an oral rehydration solution, essential for anyone with diarrhoea.

By the second day, the recovery rate of the probiotic group was remarkable compared to the control group.

Even when a baby has recovered from acute diarrhoea, like rotavirus diarrhoea, there is sometimes invisible damage to the digestive tract. This can cause problems with the digestion of the milk protein lactose, even if the baby tolerated milk-based formula with no problem previously.

Ongoing treatment with probiotics can help to break down the milk sugar, improving the baby’s lactose tolerance. The colonies of good bacteria will re-establish and provide the natural digestive assistance needed.

What to look for in a probiotic?

Look for one that is a human strain, clearly identified with a registration number from an international culture bank such as the American Type Culture Collection (e.g. ATTC 55730). Human-strain probiotics originate from breast milk or from the intestine itself. They are then grown in fermenters to produce enough for large scale production.

Good probiotics will have passed safety tests and have good, proven shelf life. With the pharmacist’s help, you should choose a probiotic that can survive in the acidic environment of the stomach as it passes through on its way to the intestine. An effective probiotic will deliver 100 million cfu of good bacteria.

And here's a warning:

An independent study published in the South African Medical Journal a few years ago drew attention to the fact that not all probiotics are equal and that even if you read the label you can’t be sure you’re getting what you’re promised. Other similar international studies had shown that few products really contained what the label claimed.

And one giant grain of salt: the information is being provided by Thebe Pharmaceuticals. However, I don't see anything here that is incorrect or excessively biased. Probiotics are not a cure-all, but they may be useful in reducing symptoms.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

FAAN Launches Teen Allergy Awareness Site

I told you a couple of days ago that this is Food Allergy Awareness Week.

Buried down in the bottom of the press release from FAAN (the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network) is a mention of That turns out to be a new web site that was just launched on May 1.

Here comes another press release:

The Web site, “Food Allergies in the Real World,” is designed to provide all teens with practical strategies for handling food allergies in social situations such as prom, dating, and going off to college. A study of 32 cases of fatal food-allergic reactions showed that more than half of the victims were kids aged 10 to 19. Interviews with family and friends indicated that the child did not expect to have a reaction, and that their friends were often unaware of the food allergy or didn’t know how to help once a reaction began. A recent study of teen behavior indicates that teens feel educating their friends would make their lives easier, yet they don’t want to be the ones doing the educating. “Our goal with this Web site is to give teens — tomorrow’s leaders —a place to go for information about how to manage food allergies, while living life to the fullest,” said Anne Muñoz-Furlong, FAAN founder and CEO.

FAAN’s teen Web site offers “real world” strategies and provides a network of teens facing the same struggles and feelings in their everyday interactions with school administrators, classmates, neighbors, friends, and family. The “Personal Stories” section presents actual experiences of teens and college students with food allergies, and recollections from their friends. The “Advice” section offers practical answers to tough questions from young adults who’ve lived through the same situations. New interactive features such as polling questions, a “Talk Back” feature in which users can share their thoughts, and a food allergy calculator that, based on national statistics, shows how many students may have food allergies in a school and reminds teens that they are not alone in their everyday struggles with food allergy.

“Food Allergies in the Real World” was crafted with insight from members of FAAN’s Teen Advisory Group comprised of 20 nationwide adolescents and young adults who have food allergies. Food-allergic teens live with a burden of responsibility that most adolescents never face. Because there is no cure for food allergy, these teenagers can never let their guard down and must rely on strict avoidance of allergy-causing foods, ongoing vigilance detecting common ingredients in unexpected places, and consistency in never leaving home without their life-saving medication, epinephrine (EpiPen® or Twinject™). Until there is a cure for food allergy, education is the key to avoiding a reaction. FAAN’s teen Web site will help these young adults to be prepared, in all situations, and avoid tragic results.

While milk or dairy allergies are seldom anaphylactic, the possibility exists. If you're a parent, encourage your teen to check out the site. It's even interactive. Under a Watch Out banner is this paragraph:

Keep in mind that products labeled as "non-dairy" are not always milk-free. Such products often contain casein, a milk protein. Remember, there is no shortcut to label reading. Taking a few minutes to check ingredients is better than spending time treating an allergic reaction!

And then you can send in a tip.

Send in one here too!

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Lactaid's Milk Moments Campaign

This is the week to be a proud member of the army of people who are lactose intolerant or dairy allergic, I guess.

Not only is this Food Allergy Awareness Week, but LACTAID is kicking off the LACTAID MILK MOMENTS campaign.

The LACTAID® MILK MOMENTS™ consumer campaign kicks-off nationally on May 15th with a coast-to-coast children’s art contest called “Searching for LACTAID® MILK MOMENTS™.” The contest asks kids ages 11 and under to illustrate their favorite LACTAID® MILK MOMENTS™, such as having a milk and cookies treat with mom or drinking a smoothie, for the chance to win prizes worth $10,000 in value.

Three first place winners will receive a:
•Full kitchen makeover for the family that includes tableware, small appliances, refrigerator and more

•Deluxe “art studio” that includes art supplies, a digital camera and a computer

•The opportunity to see their winning artwork on LACTAID® Milk carton panels starting in October

•Second and third place winners will also be selected to receive the deluxe art studio.

A new website has been launched and consumers can visit the bilingual website WWW.LACTAIDMILKMOMENTS.COM for contest rules and more information. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2006.

Spreading the News of the Importance of Art Education

In launching LACTAID® MILK MOMENTS™ and the children’s art contest, the LACTAID® Brand is partnering with PTO Today, Inc. (PTO), a leading organization that provides expertise and support for school parent group leaders across the country.

The brand is making a $50,000 donation to the organization in support of art education in schools. More than 30 schools in select cities will receive art supplies in the Fall to host a Family Arts & Craft Night, a PTO program that enriches students’ lives with a fun and educational evening of art making.

Lactaid itself can be found at its website,

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May 14-20, is Food Allergy Awareness Week

This week, May 14-20, is Food Allergy Awareness Week. Don't check your calendars. FAAN - The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network – proclaimed it themselves.

"The 2006 Food Allergy Awareness Week campaign kicks off on Mother's Day, such an appropriate day to salute the millions of mothers of children with food allergy who do so much to educate others in order to keep their children safe," said Anne Munoz-Furlong, CEO and Founder of FAAN. "The new labeling law marks a new beginning as we continue to increase awareness about this growing public health concern within our communities and ask ourselves to help keep children safe."

This past fall, The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act of 2005 (HR 4063) was introduced requesting the federal government to create food allergy management guidelines for schools nationwide. FAAN's primary goal is for school staff across the country to have the tools they need to develop a plan for keeping food-allergic students safe.

According to Munoz-Furlong, "Scientists around the world are investigating food allergy to determine why some people become allergic, how to stop the reactions and how to cure the disease. We are hopeful that in the next ten years or so, there will be significant breakthroughs -- until then, education is key."


Founded in 1991, The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is the world leader in food allergy information. FAAN, a nonprofit organization based in Fairfax, VA, is dedicated to increasing public awareness about food allergy and anaphylaxis, to providing education, and to advancing research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies. The organization has just under 30,000 members in the United States, Canada, and 62 other countries.

FAAN provides information about food allergy and educational resources to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials. Educational materials published by FAAN are reviewed for medical accuracy by the FAAN Medical Advisory Board, which is comprised of 14 of the world's leaders in food allergy science and medicine. In addition to printed materials, FAAN also sponsors awareness programs such as Food Allergy Awareness Week, Food Allergy Conferences, and the Mariel C. Furlong Awards for Making a Difference as well as fundraising walks across the country. Educational materials and information about special programs are also available online at,, and

Enough press release talk. FAAN is a good organization. Check out their websites.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Vegetarian Express

Laurie Snyman sent me an email touting her "pre-packaged vegan foods and spices that are quick and easy to make" site, [Spices that are quick and easy to make? The Internet will be the death of parallelism in English sentence construction. Sigh.]

To be honest, there aren't that many products there, and only one is of real interest to those of us who have lactose intolerance or milk allergies. That's their Parma Zaan Sprinkles cheese substitute.

There are a number of articles and recipes on the site, however, and those might be useful to those who are first looking to go vegetarian and cut dairy out of their diets.

It looks as if the site is still in the process of pulling itself together. Here's hoping that they do more with it.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

First Gluten (and Lactose) Free Restaurant Opens

So many firsts. Hope some of them last.

Back in March I told you about the first gluten free store to open. Now comes news about the first gluten free restaurant in North America.

Splitt isn't exactly convenient, unless you live in southwest Calgary, Alberta, Canada. And it took a lot of work just to get it open.

It has taken six months and consultation with the Canadian Celiac Association for Splitt to craft a menu that they say won't make celiacs sick.

"It's been quite challenging actually," says chef Steaphen Cleary. "There aren't a lot of products out there."

Splitt, so named because it's a restaurant during the day and a nightclub in the evening, offers everything from egg breakfasts to steak dinners. Its menu notes that all items are gluten and lactose free, with the exception of beverages, although it also offers gluten-free alcohol -- such as certain liquors and wines. Bread products are also available without gluten.

Pasta and wheat bread, for example, are no-nos for celiac sufferers. So Splitt created a Mexican lasagna that uses soft corn tortillas in place of pasta layers and offers a rice bun with its jalapeno stuffed burger.

Will it last? Who knows? The percentage of people thought to be gluten intolerant is growing but is still considered to be no more than 1% of the population, hardly enough to sustain a restaurant. Those of us with lactose intolerance are a larger percentage, though, and since most people with gluten intolerance are also LI we may be enough to make the difference.

More speciality stores; more specialty restaurants. Good signs for the future.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Digestive Advantage

I received an email from Gerti Sonderquist of Digestive Advantage with updated information about their product. I've made the changes to all the page on my web site, so it's a good time to mention them here as well.

Digestive Advantage is one of a couple of products with a different approach to combating the symptoms of lactose intolerance (LI). They all take advantage, pun intended, of the fact that LI symptoms have two causes. First, undigested lactose will pull water out into the intestines and create diarrhea. Second, undigested lactose may be fermented by bacteria that naturally live in the colon, creating gas and bloating.

Different people may get symptoms from one or both of these causes, depending on any number of factors. Lactase taken with food should help most everybody, but it's a good idea to also change the bacteria to the type of bacteria that digests lactose rather than ferments it.

Digestive Advantage does have lactase in it, but since you take it only once a day, I don't consider that a help. Lactase needs to be taken with food that contains dairy. (See When to Take Your Lactase.)

More important, from my perspective, it contains a "patented, proprietary Lactobacillus culture." Once this culture colonizes – takes over – your colon, your symptoms should improve.

I've received a large number of emails from readers who tell me that Digestive Advantage really works as advertised.

"I tried Digestive Advantage yesterday, and it worked great. I waited until Saturday so I could be at home for this experiment (I'm sure you understand why). I took two caplets in the morning, then had cheese, milk chocolate, and pizza with extra cheese throughout the day. I kept waiting to get violently ill, but I was fine all day yesterday and today. By the way, I am SEVERELY lactose intolerant---even a little bit of whey in a cookie and I am sick for hours. Hope this helps."

"I have been using Digestive Advantage for a little over a year and I love it. I take one pill a day and can now eat many things that I could not before. I still avoid high lactose foods, but can now eat things like pizza without discomfort."

"I've been taking this product for about a month and a half. It works great! I'm in sales and marking and have to take clients to lunch and dinner quite often. I was always fearful of eating out, especially with clients as diarrhea would start just about immediately after eating. I travel extensively as well and being on an airplane was nerve racking! This product is the only thing I have found that gives me confidence and relief of my symptoms. I can live my life again!"

I cannot guarantee that Digestive Advantage will work this well – or at all – for everybody. If you would like to try it, Gerti reminded me that:
we give out free 8 day samples for anyone who is interested by calling toll free 800.456.0276 or going to our website –

Other contact info:
Ganeden Biotech, Inc.
5915 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 304
Mayfield Heights, OH 44124

440-229-5200 Main Phone
440-229-5240 Fax


Ganendan also makes a line of other digestive lactobacillus products. And it's now appearing in supermarkets in the digestive aids or laxatives section of supermarkets. A full page of coupons appeared in my local paper recently. You can also find them on Internet shopping sites if they're not in your local stores.

Let me know how they work for you.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

When to Take Your Lactase

Back to lactose intolerance basics. Here's a question that I got an email about.

When should I take my lactase pills?

The best time to take your lactase is just before you start eating. The lactase is designed to go quickly through the stomach and enter the small intestine. That's where it works. If you take the pill before eating any of the dairy, the lactase will be sitting there waiting for it.

Should I take another pill if I have more dairy during the meal?

Food moves the intestines slowly. In fact, your system requires hours to break down and digest all the nutrients in food. If you take enough lactase at the beginning of a meal it will all still be there for any food eaten during the course of a meal.

If you're surprised by dairy you didn't expect, say by a big dairy-laden dessert, then go ahead and take more lactase. But otherwise it's not necessary.

What if I forget and don't take the lactase until the end of the meal or even later?

You want the lactase to be there first. If the lactase chases the lactose it may not catch up with the first part of the meal and some lactose can slip through undigested.

Even so, better to miss some lactose than to miss all of it. If you have lactase, take it. It should still do some good by reducing symptoms even if it doesn't eliminate them completely.

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