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.

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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.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Beware Whey Low

A sugar substitute that is low is calories and has no aftertaste sounds like an achievement. But what if one of its ingredients is lactose?

Lee Zehner, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, developed Whey Low after his wife, Sue, was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999, wrote Rosalie Robles Crowe in the Arizona Daily Star.

He makes it out of sucrose, fructose and lactose because he:

theorized that if the three sugars could be formulated the right way, they wouldn't be fully absorbed by the body, thereby making the sugar more healthful. Not only that, it would eliminate the gastrointestinal problems that often accompany the use of sugar alcohols.

The chemistry of Whey Low is interesting:
"There is an interaction among the three sugars that prevents the sucrose and lactose from being fully absorbed in the small intestine."

Basically, that's where nutrients are broken down and absorbed into the body, he said, adding, "If it doesn't happen there, it doesn't happen."

Instead, the sucrose and the lactose pass into the large intestine, which contains good and bad bacteria.

"Lactose is known to feed the good bacteria, forcing out the bad bacteria. Meanwhile, sucrose is simply consumed by all bacteria," Zehner said.

This reads to me as if Whey Low dumps undigested lactose into the large intestine. True, those people with the right bacteria may not experience any symptoms. But a good many of us with lactose intolerance do not have the "good" bacteria.

Whey Low is just beginning to reach the market.
Retail stores, mostly in the East and Midwest, are beginning to stock Whey Low. A few commercial bakeries and other such companies also are using it in their products.

Worse, you'll find it in some restaurants, such as Rock Creek Restaurant in Bethesda, MD.

On the Whey Low FAQ page, they address lactose intolerance:
8. Is the milk sugar (lactose) in Whey Low® problematic for lactose-intolerant individuals?

The small amount of milk sugar in Whey Low® has not caused any problems of which we are aware. The three lactose-intolerant consumers in our Consumer Survey reported no gastrointestinal disturbances at all from the use of Whey Low®. Lactose-intolerant people can ingest as much as a single dose of 12 grams of lactose per day (equivalent to the lactose in one 8-oz. glass of milk) without any symptoms, according to Suarez FL, Savaiano DA, and Levitt MD, N Engl J Med. 1995 Jul 6;333(1):1-4. Normal daily consumption of Whey Low® as a tabletop sweetener should not cause any problem for lactose-intolerant individuals.

It's obviously true that the small amount of lactose in a single packet of sweetener is probably not an issue for most people with lactose intolerance, just as the amount of lactose in a single pill is not an issue.

I am concerned, though, that the amount used in baking may add up. And the oral testimony of three people is worthless as an actual test measure.

My conditional advice, therefore, is to avoid Whey Low or use it very sparingly to see what it's effects will be.

And the same holds true for people with dairy allergies. Pure crystalline lactose should contain no dairy proteins, and those who are not known to be anaphylactic to dairy probably will not have any reaction to it. As always, though, be very cautious.

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