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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Answers! Really, Answers to Your Questions!

Hi, everyone. Back from a break, and time to catch up on some of the questions that have come in.


In the Lactose Free Yogurt and Cottage Cheese post, Joel asks:

Thanks for keeping us LI individuals up to date with your helpful information. I heard only last week that approximately 40% of Eastern European background americans, 60% of Afican-Americans and 100% of Asian-Americans are LI. With numbers like this, they are either false, or I would say that LI is a large enough market now for food compnaies to focus more on LI products. Do you agree with these numbers?

Those numbers are completely accurate, but misleading without some context to them.

What does it mean to say that 60% of African-Americans are LI? Simply that if you were to look at the DNA of every African-American, about 60% of them would retain the original gene that told the body to stop making the lactase enzyme after the age of weaning, and that about 40% have the mutated gene that never sends out this signal. This is one technical definition of lactose intolerance.

It's not the common one, though. Most people say that they have lactose intolerance if they get symptoms after eating or drinking dairy products. How is that different? Well, if you never have dairy products you won't get symptoms. If you have small amounts of dairy products, you likely won't have symptoms. If you stick to dairy products with low amounts of lactose, you won't get symptoms. If your colon is full of acidophilus or other "good" bacteria that digest lactose, you won't get symptoms.

That makes the actual market for reduced-lactose dairy products or non-dairy milk substitutes much smaller than the gross figures would indicate. Real dairy products also tend to taste better, or at least more familiar, to those who've grown up with them, another disincentive toward buying substitutes.

That doesn't mean that there aren't any such products. I list hundreds of them in my Product Clearinghouse. But they'll never be a big mainstream product category.


Earlier I had put up a post First Gluten and Lactose Free Store Opens about Splitt in Calgary, Canada and Gluten Free Store Opens about a Detroit venture supposed to be the "first" such store. Whenever you read a newspaper article that says something is the "first" take it with a big grain of salt.

Paul told me about the The Old Shepody Mill Restaurant on the South Shore of New Brunswick. And somebody who logged in anonymously mentioned a gluten-free store in Winnipeg named Lorenzos. Good for Canada.

I post references to lots of articles I spot on the Web. Sometimes I can tell immediately that they're wrong. Sometimes I have to wait until my readers give me the facts. You know the saying "Everybody knows more than anybody." That's true here as well.


People love their Vitamite. But Vitamite Might not be Around Any Longer. Except that it is, sorta.

Another anonymous comment said:

Vitamite is still available, but not in a convenient size. Diehl International will sell it in a 50 lb. package. It cost $180* and ships UPS. Diehl says it will make 60 gallons. It's the perfect size for your fallout shelter. My came a couple of days ago. Here's a link for the direct consumer order form.

*Anonymous corrected this on June 17 to only $130.

That'll take care of a year of Vitamite hunger. And in the meantime you can build up your muscles by hoisting the package every day.


Here's a good suggestion that wound up as a comment in Schools Should Provide Nondairy Drinks, not the most obvious place to look for it.

I substitute cream soups in casseroles, etc with a can of chicken rice or chicken noodle soup blended in a blender until smooth. I usually add a small amount of soy sour cream, to add a bit of creaminess, but that isn't absolutely necessary. I think the blended starch (the rice or noodles) substitutes for the thickener found in cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup and the chicken broth adds a nice flavor. I do this with canned soup that hasn't been reconstituted.

Thanks, anonymous. Subbing for cream soups is always difficult. Anyone who tries this please let me know how it turns out for you.


On that same page Paula asks:

I wonder had anyone connected lactose intolerance to autoimmune disease.

No, absolutely no connection that I can think of.


OK, we're back up and running. Lots more entries to be posted over the next few days. If you have any other questions or comments, I promise I'll get back to you sooner.

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