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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Kefir Contains Lactose. Somebody Tell the Pentagon

Without going into political territory, it's no secret that the military excursions into Afghanistan and Iraq have been plagued with countless errors, of judgment, application, intelligence, and logistics.

But saying kefir doesn't contain lactose? C'mon, people, get a grip.

This isn't some politically-connected fatcat under a no-bid contract bilking our soldiers, either. It's the lofty Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), who darn well should know better.

I suppose I could blame it on their publicists. You're ahead of me: you knew a press release was behind all this.

The goal is lofty as well: giving healthier foods to soldiers in the Middle East, who have been overwhelmed with stomach ailments.

With today’s scientific advancements in nutrition, soldiers will soon be plied with candy, cookies and cakes, except these will contain probiotics, the beneficial bacteria already found in the human gut. Because they suffer from high incidences of diarrhea, U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon receive ice cream sandwiches, peanut butter bars and vanilla pudding desserts filled with probiotics, with the hope that good bacteria will help curb intestinal illness.

The U.S. Army Research Development Engineering Command (REDCOM) a military research and development center in Natick, MA, is developing these miracle foods. Mainly because - and this is another snafu that will boggle your mind - the military is barred from giving out vitamin pills.

Going from bad to worse, the release then descends into the bizarro world of lactose-free kefir.
They've also been experimenting with Kefir granules, the cultures used to make Kefir, a fermented dairy drink that also promotes intestinal health as well as longevity. The granules, which consist of probiotic bacteria and yeast, are shaped like a shell, making them a good delivery vehicle for nutritional supplements. Kefir is also a good source of dairy and is lactose-free.

Kefir, like yogurt, is low in lactose. The probiotic bacteria it contains should help to make it well-tolerated, even by the lactose intolerant. But kefir is simply not lactose-free, any more than yogurt is.

And the release contains a line even more depressing than what came before. None of these probiotics foods are going to the troops. They haven't even begun human trials yet. Only then - if the foods pass - will they be given to soldiers.

I can think of a better way of supporting our troops. Home cooking.

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Unknown said...


Steve Carper said...

Note: Atanas' comment was added in 2010.

That's probably because Green Valley Organics announced its line of lactose-free kefirs and lactose-free yogurts on September 21, 2010.

And that's really good news for the lactose intolerant. Thanks, Atanas.

I put up a post about the new products at Green Valley Organics Debuts Lactose-Free Kefir.