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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lactose and Dextrose

Here's an unusual question I received.

After I got very ill I again looked at the ingredients and spotted dextrose. Are they similar and do you get others who have to also avoid too much dextrose?

Both lactose and dextrose are sugars but the resemblance stops there. Dextrose is in fact another name for glucose. Glucose is not only one of the sugars you get if you properly digest lactose, but it is the body's basic energy source. All sugars and carbohydrates break down to glucose, or another sugar that gets converted to glucose. You need it to keep your body going.

So nobody ever gets symptoms from glucose. If glucose bothered you, you'd be dead before you got a chance to check the ingredients list.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Dairy-Free Chocolate

Looking for a last-minute Easter gift?

The folks at Chocolate Decadence emailed me to say:

Last minute deliveries guaranteed for this holiday if we receive your order by April 3rd.

If we receive your order by mid afternoon on April 5th it can be sent by Next Day Air for an extra charge.

Their chocolates are "Dairy-Free ~ Lactose Free ~ Casein Free ~ Gluten Free ~ Vegan." Whether lactose intolerant, dairy allergic, vegan, or even keeping kosher - they have chocolate-covered matzos for Passover - you should be able to dig in to the goodness.

Contact info other than the website:

Chocolate Decadence
1050-D Bethel Drive
Eugene, OR 97402

Tel: (541)607-9073
800) 324-5018
FAX: (541) 607-6373

Send email to

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Thursday, March 29, 2007


Barbara Lund recently received the bad news that she has severe osteoporosis. She put together a nice summary of information on the subject in Lifelong Bone Health

The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF)
Recommendations For Lifelong Bone Health:

Between the ages of 9 and 18: We’re to put 1300 mg of calcium in our “bone bank” every day by drinking three, 8 ounce glasses of milk and eating calcium rich foods. If you are lactose intolerant, which means you have trouble digesting milk, you can select lactose-free dairy products, which are usually available in the same dairy case. Some of these products have added calcium, but if you are not getting enough calcium from food, consider taking a calcium supplement.

Between ages of 19 – 35: Our bones reach their peak strength. During these years we’re advised to take a minimum 1000 mg of calcium and 400-800 IU of Vitamin D daily to help prevent developing osteoporosis. It’s also advised that we engage in walking, jogging or team sports to keep peak bone density.
NOTE: Don’t overlook the importance of the daily Vitamin D with your Calcium. Vitamin D helps calcium enter your bloodstream so it can get to your bones.

Between the ages 35-50: We begin to lose bone - it is extremely important to continue the regimen of 1000mg of calcium and 400-800 IU of Vitamin D daily, and keep on doing active daily exercising to maintain our bone density.

50+ years Old: Women who have gone through menopause lose bone at a rate of 1% to 6% per year. At this time women should consult their healthcare professional about a risk assessment and the need for a bone density test. National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends, for this age group, daily Calcium intake of 1200 mg and 400-800 IU of Vitamin D. Further recommendation is to remain physically active: walking, jogging and resistance training for 30 minutes, 4 times per week to keep bones strong.

For more information, go to the website of the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

A standard source of free information is Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. You can order a printed copy with the form on this page. To order by telephone, call toll free 1-800-624-BONE (2663) Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM eastern time, except for Federal holidays.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nondairy Milk Alternatives

Leslie Beck does an interesting article, What you need to know about 'other' milk, on the Toronto Globe and Mail website.

She focuses on the nutritional aspects of soy, rice, and nut milks.

Soy beverages

Whether soy helps prevent heart disease or guards against cancer remains to be proven. But this popular milk alternative, made from whole soybeans or soy protein concentrate, is considered a nutritionally adequate alternative to cow's milk thanks to its protein content. A 250 ml serving of soy beverages supplies six to nine grams of protein, depending on the brand (250 ml of milk provides 8.5 grams of protein).

Choose a soy beverage with at least eight grams of protein per serving.

Many flavoured soy beverages have protein numbers at the lower end of the range since adding sugar -- evaporated cane juice, corn syrup, maltodextrin, et cetera -- dilutes the protein content.

More sugar also means more calories.

If instead you choose the chocolate-flavoured version, you'll consume 160 calories and 24 grams (six teaspoons) of sugar.

Soy beverages labelled "original" or "plain" aren't sugar-free; they contain five to 10 grams of sugar per 250 ml serving. Unsweetened soy beverages contain no added sugars.

Rice beverages

Fortified rice beverages have a slightly sweet taste and are largely a source of carbohydrates.

They're made from filtered water, brown rice and sunflower oil and are typically fortified with vitamins and minerals. Rice beverages are low in protein so they aren't a nutritional replacement for milk. If you use rice beverages as a substitute for dairy, be sure to get protein from a wide variety of other foods.

Almond beverages

Almonds are a good source of magnesium, vitamin E and monounsaturated fats -- all of which may benefit the heart.

But the actual amount of almonds used in almond-based beverages is small.

Don't expect to lower your blood cholesterol by drinking this milk alternative.

Most brands supply two grams of protein per serving, so be sure to get it from other foods.

There is also a short chart on the page that compares calories, protein, fat, and saturated fat for generic versions of these alternative "milks." She gives a source of "MANUFACTURERS AND CANADIAN NUTRIENT FILE, 2005." However, not only will these numbers vary from brand to brand, but most brands have several or even dozens of varieties of products, with deliberately different characteristics. Don't go by this chart, but be sure to check the nutrition labeling on individual products.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Milk Allergy Fatalities Still Too High

Deaths from various food allergies, including milk, has continued at about the same level over the past five years, says a report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2007 Mar 7, by Pumphrey RS and Gowland MH, titled Further fatal allergic reactions to food in the United Kingdom, 1999-2006.

Anne Muñoz-Furlong, Founder and CEO of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is disturbed by the findings. In a press release she issues, Food Allergy Fatalities Continue Unabated, FAAN writes that:

A new report on fatalities from food-induced anaphylaxis, which follows up an earlier study, suggests that little progress has been made in effectively preventing and treating food allergy reactions over the past five years. The findings support, alarmingly, earlier statistics showing that adolescents and young adults are at highest risk for fatalities. The need for more education on the part of the medical community and patients, more attention focused on reading labels and avoiding allergens, and the importance of carrying and using epinephrine are some of the major areas which need to be improved.

The report, which appears in the April 2007 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) looks at 31 individuals who died as a result of their food allergies. This report follows up one from 2001 in which 32 food-induced fatalities were examined.


The foods primarily responsible continue to be peanuts and tree nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts, but also include milk and shrimp. The most common food sources were restaurant or food service items with hidden allergens (46%) and packaged food with undeclared allergens (27%). Desserts, particularly cookies and bakery items, and Chinese food such as egg rolls caused a significant number of the reactions. In 13% of cases, the food items were homemade. In addition, every individual, for whom there was information, had asthma.

Most of the individuals were not carrying their self-injectable epinephrine, and some had never been prescribed this life-saving drug. A June 2006 study entitled "Risk-Taking and Coping Strategies of Food Allergic Adolescents and Young Adults," also published in JACI, showed that adolescents often don't carry their epinephrine self-injectors because they are self-conscious about carrying something that makes them look different from their friends.

"The solution starts with better education of medical professionals at all levels. Physicians need to do a better job of diagnosing patients and providing adequate evaluation. They also need to redouble their efforts to emphasize the importance of allergen avoidance and carrying epinephrine at all times," reports the study co-author Allan Bock, M.D., an allergist in Colorado.

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Healthier Pizza Crust - Just Dump the Cheese

University of Maryland food chemists have been filling their pizza ovens with whole wheat pizza dough and then mucking around with the temperature and time just like the host of any cooking show.

Here's their secret: give the dough plenty of time to rise and then bake it longer in a hotter oven.

Researchers found antioxidant levels rose by up to 60 per cent with longer baking times and up to 82 per cent with higher baking temperatures. The precise mechanisms involved were unclear, they said. They looked at fermentation times up to two days, and found that longer periods could double antioxidant levels. A common fermentation time is about 18 hours.

By procrastination and failing to follow the directions: I could have come up with this recipe.

But I wouldn't have known afterward that doing so raised the antioxidant content of the baked dough.

Why is this good? According to a Reuters story I found on
Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Some experts believe antioxidants can lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and other ailments.

You can't celebrate just yet.
But there was no point celebrating with extra cheese and sausage toppings, [researcher Jeffrey Moore] said. "If you're adding back all these other things that have potential negative health consequences, then you're negating anything in terms of [health] value," Mr Moore said.

So what works is a cheese-free pizza. Just what lots of us who are lactose intolerant have learned to eat. Veggies instead of sausage and pepperoni make for healthier toppings as well.

I've had whole wheat crust pizzas. They're not bad. They should be even better when this technique catches on.

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Buy Lactose, Flatter Your Body

When in India, do as the Indians so. Buy Lactose.

Specifically, buy Lactose's French Riviera Collection.

Confused? So am I.

But the website thinks it understands:

Month of April is just round the corner and summer of 2007 seems to be packed with big action and new launches with buzzword being "young consumer."

It’s good to be young but it’s even better to be cool especially in sizzling months of summer.

And for that, Lactose’s French Riviera collection in innovative light fabrics, to funky, floral Tees and tank tops from Adidas, the emphasis to remain cool will be high in branded fashion apparel section this summer.

The cool cooling breeze of Lactose. A slogan for any takers.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Ferrari of Yogurt Makers

Yogurt. Healthy, nutritious, delicious, good for you, full of helpful probiotic bacteria that reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Commercial yogurt tends to be full of sugar and extra add milk powder, making it less healthy and less digestible.

You can make your own, of course. There are many yogurt makers to be found on the market.

Few like this new one from Toshiba, though.

TOSHIBA TYM-1000 yoghurt maker.

On CNET Asia, Matsushita Shuji wrote:
Have you ever made yoghurt yourself? Oh, not that difficult. Everybody does it in South Asia in family kitchen, almost everyday. Sugar content in milk (lactose) can be fermented by the cocktail of genera Lactobacilli and Streptococci/Pediococci, and turns into lactic acid. This acid, in turn, works on the milk protein and makes it sticky, giving the distinctive yoghurt flavour.

Where can you find these dilligent microscopic workers, I mean, yoghurt culture? In the leftover from yesterday's yoghurt, of course. Pour the tiny portion of this old tired yoghurt into the fresh milk, and leave it in a quiet place overnight. Voila, the fresh yoghurt is ready for your breakfast.

The trick is, you need a stable temperature for the lactose fermentation. Too high a milk temperature, some nasty guys will shove in and the yoghurt will be spoilt. Too low, then bacillus does not propagate enough.

In hot hot South Asia, people utilize a simple ungrazed earthenware for yoghurt making. The heat loss of the vaporization through the porous vessel keeps the liquid temperature rather cool and constant.

In somewhat cooler clime, yoghurt making becomes pretty easy. Only things you need are a cheap heating element and a thermostat. Yes, almost the same primitive contraption as the aquarium heater you throw in to keep your pet piranhas alive and vicious. Check Amazon shopping site, there you'll find hundreds of cheap electric yoghurt makers with the price range from 20 to 50 US dollars.

TOSHIBA Consumers Marketing Corp. of Akihabara, a white goods sales channel of giant TOSHIBA group, released a new yoghurt maker which outshined all of those cheapos. With TYM-1000 NATURIA, you can set the temperature of fermentation, from 25 to 50 centigrade, every single degree.

Now, we can fine-tune the yoghurt making by setting the most suitable temperature for different culture of yoghurt. Ordinary generic yoghurt (around 40C), Caspian Sea (Georgian) yoghurt (27C), Kefir (drinkable yoghurt) at lower 25C. These starter cultures (in powdered form) are widely available in Japan.

OK, this model is only available in Japan for the time being. Maybe it will make its way to Europe and the U.S. As long as it gets you thinking about healthy stuff, my work is done.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Primer on Probiotics

Good article by by Katherine Fisher in the

A reader writes in to say that she had taken a course of antibiotics and now had diarrhea. Because antibiotics indiscriminately kill off intestinal bacteria, the good as well as the bad, the result is often symptoms of lactose intolerance even in people who usually don't show those symptoms.

The explanation and recommendations are good, so I'll excerpt extensively:

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are small organisms that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines also known as gut flora.

The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system.

The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in yogurt and kefir is the best known. Yeast is also a probiotic substance. Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements containing potentially beneficial bacteria or yeast, with lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as the most common microbes used.

LAB have been used in the food preparation and manufacturing for many years, because they are able to convert sugars (including lactose) and other carbohydrates into lactic acid and acts as a preservative by lowering the pH and creating fewer opportunities for spoilage organisms to grow. This organism is also responsible for the characteristic sour taste of fermented dairy foods such as yogurt.


Where do I find probiotics?

Fermented Dairy foods such as kefir and yoghurt are easy sources of ingesting probiotics.

However, look closely at the label to determine if that yogurt is effective. To offer benefit, the yogurt must contain active cultures. Most yogurt containers indicate whether active cultures are present

Taking probiotic supplements (as capsules, powder, or liquid extract) can quickly help reestablish the colonies of the lost beneficial bacteria and thus help prevent diarrhea, but in Hawaii, be sure and check that these sources have been refrigerated, as the cultures are considered "live" and will die if exposed to heat.


Managing Lactose Intolerance:

Because LAB convert lactose into lactic acid, their ingestion may help lactose intolerant individuals tolerate more lactose than what they would have otherwise.

There's much other good information in that article. You should take a look.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

LI Celebrity Alert: Corinne Brown

Rep. Corinne Brown (D-Fla.) is one of us.

What food can you not eat under any circumstances?

I wasn’t raised that way. I pretty much eat everything. I can’t eat ice cream except when I’m at home. I’m lactose-intolerant.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Catsip for Cats

A syndicated article by Dr. Marty Becker, McClatchy-Tribune reminded me of a product I haven't been reminded about in years.

CatSip is a lactose-free lowfat milk for cats, although dogs can have it as well. It's made by AKPharma, run by Alan Kligerman, the man who created Lactaid. They remove the lactose with the lactase enzyme, just like regular lactose-free milk for humans.

Dr. Becker wrote:

CatSip also has the amino acid Taurine added which is essential to healthy feline hearts and eyes. Once opened, the product (which is also dog approved) must be refrigerated to last as long as regular milk.

Go to the CatSip home page for more information.

Or you can reach their customer service hotline at 1-800-994-4711 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST Monday-Friday, or email them at

AkPharma Inc.
PO Box 111
Pleasantville, NJ 08232

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Wall Gets Dented Yet Again

Miscellaneous ignorance about lactose from around the net.

First, a reader's comment from the East Bay Express:

What the heck is "Culinary Cream," why is it low-potassium when most Americans are potassium-deficient, and since when are so many Americans lactose-intolerant in the first place? (Is it the lactose, or the bovine growth hormones?

First, "Culinary cream" is a standard institutional cream-substitute made with neutral-flavored starches to help it resist high heat and give it a longer shelf life. It's not very surprising that a hospital kitchen would use it in place of real cream.

Second, although Americans don't eat as much potassium as recommended, very few healthy Americans are potassium-deficient.

Third, and to the point of this blog, lactose intolerance is an innate genetic condition. It cannot be changed by diet and it has nothing to do with bovine growth hormones.

And if that's not enough, here's yet another example of a writer who doesn't bother to read his or her own article.

It's by E.J. Mundell in the Burlington Free Press:
Lactose-intolerant individuals should still be able to consume skim or lactate-free varieties of milk, or they can turn to fortified non-dairy products.

Lactose-free varieties of milk. Lactose intolerance is intolerance of lactose. Not lactate, which is an entirely different chemical that bothers no one with lactose intolerance. How can you confuse the two in the very same sentence?

Hello, wall. I'll be with you in a second.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Moms - and Docs - Say: Eat Your Vegetables

Many of us with lactose intolerance don't get our calcium from dairy products. Plant calcium is a good alternative source. But that means eating vegetables, an activity Americans value about as much as they do dollar coins.

Mirandi Hitti reported on on a major study from Johns Hopkins University researchers that said we're eating fewer vegetables now than even a few years ago. (Casagrande, S. American Journal of Public Health, April 2007; vol 32.)

That's right: all the people turning vegetarians and the strive for five campaigns and emphasis on diet has backfired. We're doing worse.

Johns Hopkins University's Tiffany Gary, PhD, and colleagues reviewed data from two national health surveys.

The first survey, conducted from 1988 to 1994, included nearly 15,000 U.S. adults. The second survey, done between 1999 and 2002, included about 8,900 U.S. adults.

In both, participants reported everything they had eaten during the previous 24 hours. Then researchers checked how many people met these goals:

  • Two or more servings of fruit, including fresh fruit, dried fruit, and 100% fruit juice

  • Three or more servings of vegetables (fried potatoes count).

The result:
Fruit consumption basically stayed the same while vegetable consumption dropped slightly, note the researchers.

In addition, vegetable eaters appear to be in a bit of a rut. They tended to eat several servings of the same vegetable, showing little dietary diversity.

In each survey, only 11% met both goals.

Fried potatoes count? And we're still doing worse?

Give me strength. Literally. I need it to bang my head against the wall.

OK, that does it. You asked for it. We're down to desperate measures.

Tomorrow we talk about the new food pryamid.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Lactose-Free Ice Cream in Canada

Allison emailed me to let me know about the Our Compliments Lactose Free Ice Cream that is available in Canada.

She said that:

I noticed your list does not contain my favourite Lactose Free Ice Cream made by "Our Compliments" and distributed through Sobeys and IGA in three flavours.

Mango, Chocolate Brownie, and French Vanilla.

She also said that:
With regards to Natrel milk – It is being distributed by Scotsburn and is available throughout their distribution network. I live in Nova Scotia and it is in the stores here.

Thanks, Allison. I'll add this brand to my web site as well.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

More Food Hysteria

Poor ol' milk. It's really taking a beating these days. At least from people whose fear of science seems to be equal to their ignorance of it.

I talked about this a few days ago in Another Victory for Ignorance.

Now comes the latest bit of hysteria. Milk from...

{ominous music}

... cloned cows.

The evidence comes from an article Milk from cloned cows may soon appear in a dairy case near you, by Celeste Kennel-Shank and Zena McFadden of the Medill News Service that I found online at the Chicago Defender website.

[C]onsumers buying milk produced by cloned cows or their offspring won't know it because, on Dec. 28, the FDA announced that products from cloned animals are safe to eat.

Products from cloned animals would not be specially labeled because the FDA does not view them as different products, the agency states on its Web site. "There is no science-based reason to use labels to distinguish between milk derived from clones and that from conventional animals."

Yes, that does seem to be the opinion of everyone in the scientific community. But fear of science is everywhere. Life isn't perfect, there's e-coli in the spinach, and science is to blame.

[G]rocery store clerk Devyn Slemp of Sycamore said she wouldn't buy milk from cloned animals. "I would be kind of afraid to drink it."

Thinking most consumers agree with Slemp, several dairy processing companies have said they will not buy milk from cloned cows even if the FDA approves its sale. The largest U.S. milk processor and distributor, Dean Foods Co. of Dallas, announced Feb. 23 that it won't buy milk that has come from cloned cows. Dean also owns Land O'Lakes and Horizon Organic.

The makers of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, based in Vermont, oppose using milk from cloned animals, and are advocating against it on the company Web site.

To be fair, here is the Ben & Jerry's anti-clone page. Some concerns are mentioned near the bottom, but no actual evidence against milk from cloned animals is given.

What you do find prominently on the page is fear. Fear that something is happening not in peoples' control. Fear of something new. Fear of science.

Back to the original article:
Whether the cause for concern is real or due to fear has yet to be seen. "We need to be careful about hysteria about the unknown," said Rex Chisholm, director of the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern University. "A lot of times when we make genetic changes we get unintended consequences," he said. "Our lives are full of unintended consequences."

Studies of public opinion on animal cloning and the food supply documented by the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University suggests that the word cloning conjures up negative ideas of science fiction. Research indicates that most people know little about the science of cloning.

Chisholm thinks people should have more confidence in the process. If you handed over a glass of milk and "told me this is milk from a cloned cow, I wouldn't think twice about drinking it," he said.

Humans have been manipulating the genes in food for thousands of years, Chisholm said. Long before people knew what genes were, they selectively reproduced the plants and animals they preferred, altering their gene pools, he said. Current breeding techniques to reproduce prized cattle and bulls are not far from cloning, he added.

Although Chisholm supports use of the products, he is in favor of labeling the food from cloned or genetically modified animals, unlike the FDA. "When people use the products and find out they are no different than anything else, this whole thing will go away," he said.

Maybe. I don't believe it, but maybe.

You can have a say in all this. The FDA is accepting comments from the public through April 2. Go to the Draft Animal Cloning Risk Assessment Comment Page and click on "Submit Comment."

For more information, go to the FDA's Animal Cloning FAQ page or go here for the full report in .pdf format or here for a nine-page .pdf summary.

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