Q And A Clearinghouse
4th Quarter, 1999
Updated January 15, 2000
This page answers the
questions that arrived in the fourth quarter of 1999.
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. What exactly
is the ingredient in dairy products that causes the binding?
I read that you feel it is not the lactose.
You're right about that. It's the protein.
Take a look at this
Constipation and Milk Allergy page on my web site.
It's a discussion of a recent medical journal article that
makes a connection between a dairy protein allergy and
constipation in young children, the first such report to my knowledge.
You should then talk to your doctor about it.
Q. What is the lactose
content of yogurts containing active cultures?
This sounds like a straightforward question, but it isn't. Two problems.
One is that many manufacturers add additional milk solids to the
yogurt during the manufacturing process, because true natural yogurt
tends to be too thin and sour for American audiences. This makes it
impossible to judge lactose content.
The other problem isn't really a problem, but a boon. The active
cultures work to manufacture their own lactase, both during the
manufacturing process and even in your intestines. This neutralizes,
pretty much, any lactose in the yogurt, even from added milk solids.
So the amount of actual lactose is more or less irrelevant to the
end result, which is that yogurts with live and active cultures
are well tolerated by most people with lactose intolerance.
Q. a) How is lactose made
- I assume it is a protein in the cows stomach or something?
Or is it part of the grass?
b) And is Lactaid a protein or an enzyme?
a) Neither. Lactose is made in the mammary gland.
(It's a part of milk and found only in milk.) It's a
tremendously complicated chemical process that starts with
the simple sugar, glucose. Some other glucose is converted
to another simple sugar, galactose. Then the whey protein
called alpha-lactalbumin bonds them together to make the complex
sugar we know as lactose.
b) Lactaid is a brand name for the enzyme known as lactase.
(But all enzymes are proteins, except for a couple of weird exceptions.)
Q. I have
heard that some meats can contain lactose (unless they are
Kosher) is this true? If so which ones?
No meat of any kind contains lactose in and of itself.
However, some processed meat products (including cold cuts and hot dogs)
can have a dairy product as an ingredient.
The only way to tell is to be sure you always read ingredients lists
for anything you buy. And you're right about Kosher meats being dairy-free.
They have to be that way. If you can, try to find Kosher cold cuts
and hot dogs. Not only are they great tasting, but you can be assured
that they don't contain milk.
Q. Does cocoa butter contain
lactose like I think it probably does?
Q. If LI is the
result of not being able to breaking down the compound sugar found in
milk and milk products, then would it also be true that anything made
with a compound sugar would also be a problem?
This is a very good question. However, the answer is no,
except is a very few people.
The lactase enzyme that digests
lactose is an unusual one. Even in people who can drink milk as
adults, it is manufactured in smaller quantities than the
enzymes that digest other compound sugars. The reasons probably
go back well into human evolution, since lactase only needed to
be manufactured early in life when milk was the sole food, while
all the others were needed for a wide range of foods all one's life.
There are some people who have a wide range of sugar intolerances,
but overall it is seldom a problem.
Q. Can we
humans really do without all dairy products? (I am already a
vegetarian). If so, how else can we get enough calcium?
Yes, humans can get along on just about any diet they want.
Vegans, those vegetarians who do without any animal products,
can have perfectly adequate diets and can get all the calcium
they need from plant sources. You might want to check out my
Links for more information.
That said, very few people except the most militant vegans
believe all the horror stories about milk. Most people can and
do use milk as part of a healthy diet. The choice is totally yours.