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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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, June 12, 2010

Is Beta-Lactose Bad for You?

Why does the subject of raw milk bring out so much bad science presented under the guise of being good science? I'm baffled. You'd think that drinking raw milk wouldn't prevent you from using the internet to look up basic facts.

And yet here we go again, At, another of those deadly sites that allow anybody with a computer to post nonsense, JD Moore wrote Why I Got Raw Milk.

After the usual attack on pasteurization Ms Moore goes on to say:

The problem with pasteurization is that it kills the good as well as the perceived bad, and destroys some of the most beneficial and nutritious aspects of the living raw food. The lactose enzyme is killed, making the milk indigestible for many. Lactose becomes beta-lactose, a sugar far more rapidly absorbed, leaving the child feeling hungry sooner.


Let's go to an expert and unbiased page on milk chemistry from Cornell University:
Lactose is dissolved in the serum (whey) phase of fluid milk. Lactose dissolved in solution is found in 2 forms, called the α-anomer and ß-anomer, that can convert back and forth between each other. The solubility of the 2 anomers is temperature dependent and therefore the equilibrium concentration of the 2 forms will be different at different temperatures. At room temperature (70°F, 20°C) the equilibrium ratio is approximately 37% α- and 63% ß-lactose. At temperatures above 200°F (93.5°C) the ß-anomer is less soluble so there is a higher ratio of α- to ß-lactose. The type of anomer present does not affect the nutritional properties of lactose.

In other words, not only does the presence of beta lactose not make a particle of difference to the digestibility of lactose, the higher temperatures of pasteurization promote the alpha variety over the beta variety, exactly the opposite of Moore's contention.

If for some reason you don't want to believe milk scientists, try checking out the folks at They do mention the two forms of lactose. They don't say a single word about either form being more or less digestible.

The Raw Milk Facts site also doesn't provide any evidence for Moore's next sentence, "Up to 20 percent of the iodine in milk is destroyed along with part of the Vitamin C."

Where does this contention, so often found in pro-raw milk diatribes, come from? From the raw milk proponents, the Weston A. Price Foundation. Or, more accurately, from a page they have on their site quoting a 1938 article from Armchair Science. You may think I'm kidding, but this is really cited.
This is a statement from Armchair Science, London (April 1938) Armchair Science is, or was, a British Medical Journal.

Chris Gupta
This 1938 BMJ (British Medical Journal) is yet again destroy's [sic] the mistaken notion that pasteurized milk is safe when to the contrary it has been repeatedly shown that most diseases from milk are not from the raw milk (which in fact has curative factors in it) but form [sic] the sloppy and filthy handling during milking and subsequent handling. Both of which can be prevented today yet we choose not too.

My Toxic Tummy
Armchair Science is a British Medical Journal

No, no, and no. And no to all the others who say this, easily found in a Google search.

The British Medical Journal is a British medical journal. Armchair Science was an ordinary popular science magazine, not a peer-reviewed research publication.

This is what the internet is for, what it is best at. A universal library of convenient facts and information at your fingertips, allowing you to check whether what you are saying is anywhere close to accurate in a few seconds.

So what does it say about the people who post nonsense and quote other peoples' nonsense without ever bothering to check any of it?

Bad things. Very bad things.

Please ignore them. Please.

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1 comment:

JD said...

Thank you for your posting regarding the issue of Raw Milk and for reading my article.
I would like to clarify one item. You took issue with a claim you thought I had made, specifically about "beta-lactose" and the lactose enzyme being less digestable.
I believe you misread my 2 sentences. I spoke of 2 different things; the killing of the lactose enzyme, and how beta-lactose was absorbed. One sentence was not speaking of the other.
While I did do research beyond what you might think, mine was an opinion piece. Hense, why it was written in the first person. Others are welcome to disagree.