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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Report from the LI Conference, part 4

Up next was another talk on the basics.

Nutritive Value of Milk and Alternative Sources
Nancy F. Krebs, M.D., M.S.
Professor of Pediatrics and Head of Section of Nutrition
Department of Pediatrics
Health Sciences Center
University of Colorado at Denver

We hear all the time from dairy advocates that dairy needs to be in the food pyramid and be recommended as a major food group because people just won't, at least don't, get their calcium from other sources, even though it's technically possible to.

I knew that, but the the numbers still managed to startle me. "Dairy products provide approximately 70% of calcium in the U.S. food supply." Vegetables are next, at a tiny 8% of the total. Replacing 70% of a critical nutrient is an almost impossible task in less than a generation. Maybe more. That 70% figure has gone down some but it's taken 45 years to do so, and that's with the growth in calcium-fortified foods.

If you do want to avoid milk, the calcium in calcium-fortified orange juice is well absorbed. So is the calcium in calcium-processed tofu and vegetables like kale. The calcium in spinach is not well absorbed, because it contains oxalates that interfere. Fortunately, oxalates are not a common problem in green leafy vegetables, and the ones that do have a high oxalic acid content include chard and beet greens, not huge contributors to the diet.

But if we tried we could just swap out these alternative sources for dairy, right? Sorry, we just don't know. No good studies of whether the functional outcomes of alternative calcium sources are equivalent to dairy have been done.

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