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Microplane Shaver With Hard CheesePic by Dinner Series

This post was written while participating in my partnership with the National Dairy Council, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

Last night I was watching that great show “Mythbusters” with my kids. Have you seen it? Grown up men and women spend their time smashing things up and doing all kinds of cool experiments to see if certain popular myths are true or not. We all agreed those folks have great jobs and my nine year old, who enjoys science and math, knows he’s going to have to continue giving his best effort in science and math if he wants to get a job like that. Anyway, in that spirit, I thought I would do a little “mythbusting” of my own today.

Since I started writing about lactose intolerance (LI) and my family’s personal experience with it, I’ve had a lot of people come up to ask me about it. Over time, certain questions come up frequently, so today I thought I would address a few of them. I hope it makes things a little clearer.

It turns out many of the questions I receive revolve around common myths about LI so here are the three I hear the most:

The first myth, and one I used to believe myself, is the myth that lactose intolerance is common. It turns out true lactose intolerance isn’t as common as once believed. Only around 1 in 10 adults have lactose intolerance with 12% of adults self-reporting having LI*, for Hispanic Americans it’s roughly 10%, and it is less common in young children, including minority populations.

The second myth is the idea that folks who have lactose intolerance must avoid all dairy foods. This is absolutely untrue; most folks with lactose intolerance can still enjoy them. By starting with small amounts and increasing slowly over several days or weeks to find the amount that works with their tolerance, many find they can still enjoy dairy products. Other strategies for continuing to enjoy delicious dairy products are to drink low-fat or fat-free lactose-free milk, mix dairy with other foods, try yummy, natural, hard cheeses, and eat yogurt that contains live and active cultures which help to digest lactose. Usually, it’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for each person.

The third common myth is that lactose-free dairy products don’t have the same nutritional values as regular dairy products. The truth is lactose-free dairy products are real dairy made with real milk, and traditionally have been made by adding an enzyme to make milk lactose-free, and therefore they pack the same nutritional punch as the delicious milk, creamy yogurt and yummy cheese you’ve always loved. Learn more here.

So there you have it, three common myths busted. Here is a nice infographic entitled 5 things to know about lactose intolerance.


* Lactose Intolerance: Dispelling Myths and Helping People Enjoy Milk, Cheese & Yogurt, National Dairy Council, 2011

Please read Mama Latina Tips’ General Health Disclaimer. The contents of this post, and all Mama Latina Tips posts, are meant for informational or entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or safety advice.

Silvia Martinez
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