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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I'm Back - And Not a Moment Too Soon

C'mon, world. I was only gone for a week. How could everything have gone to hell so quickly?

You know my usual rants about reporters not getting it right. Here's a world-class example from Jen Braaten of the Grand Forks Herald:

With age comes the susceptibility to anemia, or inadequate iron. Anderson also notes that the lactose enzyme gets smaller within the body, making it more difficult to digest milk or milk products.

The lactose enzyme gets smaller? Is it like The Incredible Shrinking Man? Why not just say straightforwardly - and correctly - that our bodies tend to make less of the enzyme as we grow older?

Blogs. Well, what can you say about blogs? On November 1, Jimmy Moore posted a screed against high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in his Atkins Diet blog, Livin' La Vida Lo-Carb. Numbers are not his strong point, though.
This is a scary thought for me personally because I used to consume the equivalent of 16-20 cans of Coca-Cola on a daily basis before I started livin' la vida low-carb. That's about 45g sugar, all in the form of high fructose corn syrup, per can. So I was guzzling down--BRACE YOURSELF--upwards of 900 grams of fructose just in my soda consumption before the Atkins diet. And we won't even talk about the HFCS that was in all those snack cakes I used to eat, too! EEEEEEK!

Sigh. High fructose is not at all the same thing as all fructose. HFCS comes in several varieties, but the type normally used in soft drinks is about 55% fructose and 45% glucose. That cuts the number of fructose grams down to just under 500. Still a lot, but 400 g - nearly a pound - less than he stated.

In addition, his screed against fructose has the basic problem that all sugar has about 4 calories per gram. So Moore was consuming a whopping 3600 grams/day of calories just from colas. That's in addition to those snack cakes. And presumably everything else he ate all day long.

So why blame the fructose? He doesn't list even a single thing wrong with his body that he himself attributes to fructose.

Although lack of understanding of all processes with sugar is a severe problem in this country, I wouldn't bother with this blog if Moore didn't also mislead with a more directly relevant comment:
Many people also have fructose intolerance, similar to lactose intolerance with milk-based products...

Not too terribly similar, though. It can't be. Lactose intolerance results from the lack of an enzyme to split the complex sugar lactose into simpler sugars. Fructose is itself a simple sugar, however. No enzyme needs to be manufactured by the body. The two conditions are similar only in that undigested lactose or fructose may cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Most doctors put hereditary fructose intolerance in the category of "rare" diseases, with no more than 1 in 20,000 affected. Lactose intolerance affects more than 15,000 in 20,000 worldwide.

Avoid screeds. They're bad for your health.

One more example before my blood pressure gets too high.

Reporters aren't responsible for headlines, so when I saw that the headline "Soy milk may be as effective as skim in promoting weight loss" over a story by Mike Danahey at the wasn't backed up well, if at all, by the actual article I could have shifted the blame upward. But then...

The study is in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association's October 2007 issue. Volume 107, Issue 10, Pages 1811-1814 (October 2007) "Preliminary Study: Soy Milk as Effective as Skim Milk in Promoting Weight Loss," by Judith M. Lukaszuk, Paul Luebbers, and Beth A. Gordon.
The 56-day study followed 14 overweight women, ages 18 to 45, from the DeKalb area. They randomly were assigned to include about three cups a day of either soy or skim milk in their calorically restricted diets.

Those on soy milk also were given a soy protein supplement so that the protein intake levels would be similar. The diet was made up of 45 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 25 percent fat.

"They then maintained the lifestyles they had when they started the study," said Lukaszuk. That included a woman who enjoys getting a latte every morning, but substituting soy milk and skipping the whipped cream.

All the women lost weight, decreased body fat percentage and went down in waist size, and the greatest losses were seen in those with high dairy intake, the study found.

However, the journal abstract said that:
There were no significant differences in weight, fat percent, abdominal circumference, and fat-free mass between groups.

One group did lost a pound more than the other, but that was not a statistically significant amount, so the greatest losses were due to dairy statement is misleading and shouldn't have been included in the article.

I have to note that the study put all the women on diets that served them 500 calories/day less than they usually ate. It's the calorie restriction that helped account for the loss in weight. However, the study, limited as it was, attempted to determine whether it was the protein in milk rather than some other property that accompanies weight loss. This very preliminary evidence indicates that any equivalent protein intake will work. Vegans and others on soymilk diets, take note.

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Ilan Tsekhman said...

In that much of your post is dedicated to pointing out inaccuracies in another blog I thought I might leave a slight (but not so slight for those of us that suffer from HFI) correction to your comments about Fructose Intolerance.

Hereditary Fructose Intolerance is a condition that results from a rare genetic inability to produce the aldolase-B enzyme which is necessary to the proper metabolizing of fructose despite the fact that it is already a simple sugar.

Steve Carper said...

The lack of an enzyme to metabolize fructose makes HFI equivalent to galactosemia rather than lactose intolerance. The two are totally difference conditions in every way.

Ilan Tsekhman said...

Oh I totally agree that fructose intolerance is different from lactose intolerance. I was just taking issue with the part where you wrote that "No enzyme needs to be manufactured by the body". In order to metabolize fructose (and sucrose for that matter but thats simply because sucrose has fructose in it) the body does need to make a few enzymes primarily aldolase-B