Q And A Clearinghouse
1st Quarter, 2000
Updated April 30, 2000
This page answers the
questions that arrived in the first quarter of 2000.
Send your questions to me, Steve Carper, at SteveCarper@CS.com.
Remember, I personally answer all questions that you send me, no
matter what. The ones that are of sufficiently general interest
get posted here, where I hope they can do the most good.
If you don't spot your question here, be sure to check my
Q and A Quick Finder Index.
Q. When I
switched from breastmilk (and occasional formula) to cows' milk,
diarrhea burned my daughter's bottom like a chemical burn.
What do you know about acidic stools?
Acidic stools are a sign that carbohydrates are not being properly
digested and so are coming out in the stool. They may very well
be a sign of LI.
But the diarrhea may be a reaction to the milk protein,
which often first manifests when mothers switch to cow's milk.
Check with your doctor about doing an allergy test.
FYI, your baby is old enough to use lactase. If swallowing is a
problem, a couple of brands make gelcaps that are easier to swallow.
Otherwise find a chewable tablet and crush it up and slip into food.
Q. a. If you are
eating at a buffet, for instance, how long can you eat on
(be protected by) any lactase you take?
b. I'm finding myself
in social situations, such as a wedding reception, where I take the lactase at the
beginning of the meal and the cake (or coffee with cream, or whatever) is served
several hours later. Do I need to take another dose then?
If you take enough lactase at the beginning of a meal, it should
protect you for the entire meal. However, if it's a really long
drawn-out affair, several hours long like a banquet, and you save
dessert until the end, you might want to take more then. But one
dosage should be enough for any ordinary meal.
Q. My 11-year-old
daughter has just been diagnosed with LI. Can she eat m and m peanut candy?
I am so confused about "milk chocolate" and whether this is possible.
What candy is okay for her?
Milk chocolate is exactly that chocolate made with milk.
Bars and chocolate chips of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
are normally made without milk, and so are many candy bars that
contain only dark chocolate. Some candy bars do contain milk fat,
but that should not be a problem. Check ingredients lists to
be sure. And lots of sour ball, gummy bear and similar
non-chocolate candy should be fine.
Q. Are there
any simple ways to test for presence of lactose in processed foods?
The short answer is no. There are no test strips or
anything like them on the market. I'm don't know how difficult
it would be to distinguish lactose from other sugars, but
I'm guessing fairly hard.
Q. I have discovered
that I get extremely sick when I have butter or very
fatty cheeses like camembert. Then within one hour I have vomiting
reactions, diarrhea and lots of pain. My question is, have you heard
about allergy/intolerance to fat in milk products?
Almost nothing is known about milk fat intolerance. I remember one study
saying that perhaps 10% of people who reacted to milk were reacting to the
fat, but another study said there was no such thing.
One suggestions: Find a margarine that is completely dairy-free
Margarines page for brand names) and see whether that triggers a reaction.
That will tell you at least something.
Q. Is lactase in
humans analogous to rennet in calves?
No. Lactase is produced by virtually all mammals for
the same sole purpose: to digest lactose from milk. (A few animals,
such as the pinnipedia - seals, sea lions and suchlike -
do not have lactose in their milks and so do not need lactase.)
Lactase is produced in the villi of the small intestine (rather than
in the stomach) and
works there on lactose molecules that pass by. It is analogous to
sucrase and the other enzymes that digest sugars.