Many of you have tried a dairy-free diet either for ethical reasons or because it upsets your stomach. Although the message from the dairy industry is that milk does a body good, 60 percent of adults can't digest dairy. It's not that they're allergic, meaning their immune system is affected; it's that their stomachs can't digest the lactose, the sugar found in milk. The enzyme lactase is needed to break it down, and for most of us, that enzyme stops being produced when we're between 2 and 5 years old. Without the enzyme to break down the lactose, the undigested milk sugars end up in our colons and ferment, causing cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
If you have no trouble digesting milk products, you're actually in the minority. That's why scientists don't like the term lactose intolerance, because it gives the impression that it's a disease. Lactose tolerance is actually a genetic mutation. It may have to do with the fact that thousands of years ago, depending on where people lived, milk was a source of food, calcium, and vitamin D. So people kept drinking cow's milk even after they stopped nursing (breast milk also contains lactose), and their bodies continued to produce the lactase enzyme to break it down. That's why there's a connection between your nationality and your sensitivity to milk. Those of European, Irish, Dutch, and Scandinavian decent are usually more tolerant of milk, while Native Americans, Asians, and those of African and Caribbean decent are more sensitive.
Tell me, where do you stand when it comes to sensitivity to milk?