Am I Lack Toast and Tolerant? No, But You May Be Lactose Intolerant!

Am I Lack Toast and Tolerant? No, but you may very well be lactose intolerant! Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the sugar in milk, lactose. In the past couple years, people’s curiosity of lactose intolerance has steadily increased in the 2010’s and up to today (see Google Trends below). More people are searching for it online, and because people are unfamiliar with lactose intolerance, they are asking “Am I Lack Toast and Tolerant?” No worries, though, we’ll help you get closer to knowing the real issues going on with possible lactose intolerance.

Lactose

Introduction to Lactose Intolerance:

Lactose intolerance, again, is the inability to digest the sugar in milk, lactose. This inability results from a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is normally produced in the small intestine. Lactase breaks down the milk sugar, so the body can easily digest it. When there is not enough lactase to digest the amount of lactose consumed, mild to severe stomach discomfort may in turn be the result.

Quick Lactose Intolerance Statistics

Around 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, affecting more than 90 percent of adults in some of these communities. Lactose intolerance is also very common in people of West African, Arab, Jewish, Greek, and Italian descent, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The prevalence of lactose intolerance is lowest in populations with a long history of dependence on unfermented milk products as an important food source, says the source.

Common symptoms may include:

  • Cramps
  • Gas
  • Loose stool or diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating

Symptoms tend to occur anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating or drinking foods containing dairy. The severity of symptoms and tolerance levels can be different for each individual.

Could your issue be a delayed allergy?

A delayed allergy and lactose intolerance are completely different. Delayed allergy, also called “hidden” allergy, is the immune system’s overreaction to a food or chemical. These delayed reactions can occur three hours to three weeks after exposure to the item. If you have a delayed allergy to milk, for example, when you drink or are exposed to milk, your immune system goes into action to “protect” you from the product. When your immune system stays in this defense mode for an extended period it becomes over-stressed and ultimately will not do what it should to protect you from real threats like viruses, bacteria, etc.  Because of the delay between exposure and symptoms, a delayed allergy to milk is almost impossible to identify without a very precise blood test called the LRA.

Milk is one of the items tested in the LRA evaluation for delayed allergies (click here to get tested for a delayed hypersensitivity or delayed allergy to milk).

Foods that have lactose in it:

  • Cheese
  • Ice Cream
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Cream Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Butter
  • Chocolate
  • Puddings
  • Custard
  • Coffee creamer

Causes

Lactose intolerance occurs when the small intestine does not produce enough of an enzyme called lactase. Your body needs lactase to break down, or digest, lactose (the sugar found in dairy products).

Lactose intolerance generally develops in individuals as they age. People tend to become lactose intolerant around their teenage years, or during adulthood. Generally, lactose intolerance most commonly runs in families and is related to genetics. Lactose intolerance can also be brought on by infections, chemotherapy, penicillin reactions, surgery, pregnancy, or from the avoidance of dairy products for a prolonged period of time. Additionally, ethnicity has a lot to do with lactose intolerance.

Genetics

One’s genes can play a key role in being able to consume dairy product without symptoms. One’s genetic make-up dictates if his or her body can produce enough lactase enzyme, an enzyme the body needs to break down dairy products. Many ethnic cultures are in fact more likely to be lactose intolerant because their diets call for low lactose intake. Over generations, these ethnic groups don’t pass on the enzyme to break down dairy because they aren’t consuming dairy.

Ethnicity

The chart below is from ProCon.org. It is from a few years ago, but still provides a good background on who lactose intolerance is having the most impact.

Lactose-Intolerance-based-on-ethnicity

So the next time someone asks “Am I Lack Toast and Tolerant?”, be nice and say no, but you may be lactose intolerant! In this article, you learned more about what is lactose intolerance, its causes, which items have lactose, and more.

For additional information on lactose intolerance, click here.

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