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Got Milk? You’ve Probably Got Gas, Cramps, and Diarrhea Too

Written by PETA | September 1, 2009 / CC
Milk Upsets More Than Your Stomach

A recent article in USA Today reveals why so many dairy-lovin’ adults spend too much time in the loo, cutting the cheese.

According to the article, titled “Sixty Percent of Adults Can’t Digest Milk,”

[P]eople who are lactose intolerant can’t digest the main sugar—lactose—found in milk. In normal humans, the enzyme that does so—lactase—stops being produced when the person is between two and five years old. The undigested sugars end up in the colon, where they begin to ferment, producing gas that can cause cramping, bloating, nausea, flatulence and diarrhea.

In other words, Gouda is no good for you and Swiss is a digestive miss.

The article continues,

Being able to digest milk is so strange that scientists say we shouldn’t really call lactose intolerance a disease, because that presumes it’s abnormal. Instead, they call it lactase persistence, indicating what’s really weird is the ability to continue to drink milk.

It’s time for milk-drinking “weirdos” to get off the can and discover the delicious world of dairy alternatives. They are better than cheddar and nicer than ice cream—for human health and for cows and their calves.

Written by Karin Bennett

Commenting is closed.
  • Liz says:

    Tamara as a biologist I am a bit upset at the ignorance shown in your comment. Please buy a biology textbook a read the section on genetics you CANNOT change your genotype through lifestyle choice. Not that anyone cares about science but for my own peace of mind I will now explain “genetic adaptation” in cultures that do not drink milk producing lactase into adulthood is a disadvantage as its production uses up valuable amino acids and energy. So lactaseproducers at a disadvantage and selected against natural selection. In farming cultures midnorthern europe and east africa the benefits of producing lactase good source of vitamin D essential ammino acts lipids calcium etc into adulthood so far outweighed the costs that nonlactase producers were at a disadvantage and selected against. The mutation in east africa occured independantly to that in europe which suggests just how advantageous it was to be able to drink milk. Neither the gene for lactase persistence nor the gene for primary lactose intolerance is itself deliterous. That would depend on environmental factors. Lactose tolerance or intolerance are not genetic diseases they are an example of normal human genetic variation like skin colour advantageous under some conditions and disadvantageous under others. NB just pointing out the obvious drinking milk will not cause the symptoms of lactose intolerance IF YOU ARE NOT LACTOSE INTOLERANT.

  • Tamra says:

    Who said it’s genetically determined? The USA today article said it was a genetic adaptation due to drinking milk into adulthood and never used the word determination. Two very different concepts.

  • Steve says:

    Gave up milk 10 days ago. Haven’t felt this good in a long time!

  • rojo says:

    these guys say it’s genetically determined so race serves as a initial indicator. But don’t worry there is nothing wrong with being intolerantto lactose.

  • Tamra says:

    For everyone that wanted to read too much into my original post allow me to clarify….. I did not mean that Asians are smarter in academics or IQ than Caucasians because they don’t drink as much milk. I am not saying that. I believe that people who choose NOT to drink milk are making a smarter decision than people that continue to do so. It just so happens in the above case that we were talking about Caucasians and Asians. So IN THAT REGARD yes the majority of Asians are smarter than the majority of Caucasians my opinion.

  • Tamra says:

    Tom What part of “in regards to drinking milk” do you not understand??? I did NOT say that Caucasians were the only consumers of large amounts of milk. I said that they have lower rates of lactose intolerance than Asians. The fact that Caucasians have lower rates of lactose intolerance has to do with drinking milk and lactase persistence and NOT I repeat NOT race. If you don’t get that I don’t know what else to tell you……

  • Tom says:

    Tamra Asians do better in academics because of the education system set up in Asian nations. Their school day is longer and they don’t get 3 months off in the summer. It has nothing to do with what they do or don’t consume. Secondly Caucasians aren’t the only consumers of large amounts of milk. Although there are larger incidents of lactose intolerance in other ethnicities Those that can drink milk also drink it in “copious” amounts. so your statement is still asinine.

  • Tamra says:

    Right on Layla! I love that book and it has tons of good info in it. I can’t stand it when people say we need milk they’re like robots….. I haven’t made the switch yet to vegan but I only drink soy milk I can’t even fathom drinking cow’s milk.

  • Tamra says:

    Tom Did you actually read my whole post before you were just so quick to hand out a putdown bravo for you. You are trying to twist my words when I think the average person of intelligence understood where I was going with that. LetmerephraseforTom In regards to drinking milk Asians are a bit smarter my opinion because they don’t drink another mammal’s milk in copious amounts as Caucasians do fact. The result from this is that Asians largely remain lactose intolerant over time because lactase production subsides fact. Because Caucasians insist on drinking milk excessively or at all for that matter lactase production persists fact. Now do you disagree with my opinion or with the facts I present? Go ahead tough guy.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    The countries that consume the most dairy also have the most osteoporosis and viceversa. Dairy is a highprotein acidic food which causes calcium resorption from the bones in order to maintain our blood pH. Even within one country those that minimize or avoid dairy consumption have the strongest bones “Harvard University’s landmark Nurses Health Study which followed 78000 women over a 12year period found that the women who consumed the most calcium from dairy foods broke more bones than those who rarely drank milk.”

  • Layla says:

    ‘Skinny Bitch’ gives THE best information about milk! I have had so many people who insist on telling me “humans NEED cows milk” read thoes chapters and they instantly change their views. Its so sad that we live in America where the billion dollar milk industry can get away with telling fellow Americans that if you dont drink the milk of a cow your teeth will fall out and your bones will crumble. Think for yourself and use common sence. WHY WOULD HUMANS NEEEEED TO DRINK COWS MILK WHEN WE HAVE BREAST MILK AKA MILK FROM OUR OWN SPECIES? WE DONT theres a reason why all mamles are weened from milk at a young age…WE DONT NEED IT! I became a vegan and instantly stopped popping pills for went away not to mention i lost a lot of weight! If you drink milk you are apart of the suffering for female cows not to mention you add to the veal industry Its so easy now a days to make the change. You can have soy ice cream soy cheese anything and everything! GO VEGAN! it was the best thing i ever did!

  • jesse says:

    nice study. but i love milk and will keep drinking it. i have no problems. sorry if this makes you mad that i wont change but its my life not yours. “not to be mean or anything but its true”.

  • Tom says:

    Tamra the ability to produce lactase isn’t a gauge of intelligence. One has nothing to do with the other. the fact that you would put an asinine statement like that into print for all to see would put your intelligence into question.

  • Carla says:

    Love you karin!! And the author is spot on!! Thankyou couldn’t of summed it up any better!!

  • Tamra says:

    rojo a few percent of caucasians are intolerant as you say because they insist on drinking milk!!!! over time their bodies keep producing lactase for longer periods in response to continually shoving another mammal’s milk into their bodies…… other ethnicities are a bit smarter than caucasians in this regard that is why they remain intolerant over time as caucasians SHOULD have….

  • Megan says:

    This makes perfect sense and is incredibly interesting. Thanks PETA for bringing realization to more people. It reminds me of the first time when I was about nine years old that I realized that cows do not produce milk all the time and that they must go through pregnancy to make it. It’s something that is so obvious but just ignored by the ignorant.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I’m one of the 12. I do occaisonally eat cheese but I cannot handle milk or ice cream…on top of the lactose intolerance milk and ice cream causes a severe allergic reaction.

  • emma says:

    i love peta and i love what they stand for i support them in everything in they do but whats just upset me is the fact they have put milk drinking ‘wierdos’ up there i drink milk but only in my teas i dont have glass fulls its the only thing i drink i hate pop and water but i dont think myself a ‘wierdo’ i think thats a bit harsh yeah if i tried soya i’d probably convert but to be called a wierdo is just not on.

  • Kelly says:

    It also causes constipation amd painful menstrual cramps. I’ve learn that the hard way years ago when I used consume cruel dairy.

  • rojo says:

    depends on your ethnicity only a few percent of caucasians are intolerent but asians for instance are mostly intolerant. As always statistics are how you present them.

  • Liz says:

    Hello have you read this article. If you are of northern european ancestry than you have a good chance of being lactose persistent. People in Sweden show this trait because in the northern latitudes you would get less sunlight and need the extra vitamin d in dairy. Micro evolution at work go figure.

  • Sunjay Somani says:

    This is great scientific news for all of usKarin. Thank you for letting us all know. I always usd to have cramps in my stomach after a glass of milk and used to think it was my physical deficiency in not being able to digest it!! Thanks remove a 40 years old misconception !

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Soymilk is indisputably savory crueltyfree and ecologically friendly.

  • Tamra says:

    There is a reason why lactase stops being produced!!!!!! It’s common sense….if you were meant to drink milk you wouldn’t have been weaned from your mother.

  • Kathryn White says:

    Oh man kudos beyond all words for creating and publishing this article. I say Go Vegan EVERYONE!!!!!!

  • Moriah says:

    Mother’s milk human or nonhuman is for her baby no one else. Unfortunately the omnivores in my life won’t believe meor anyone elsewhen this is pointed out to them. Just as a side note it’s very interesting how significantly my health improved when I gave up milk products. The same for my mother though she is not a vegan. She spent years trying to figure out what her problem was only to find out that she was indeed lactose intolerant.

  • Kara says:

    I love soymilk!!!! Delicious!!!

  • Edward says:

    On a worldwide basis 60 of people are lactose intolerant. Europeans and Americans are a different story. Only 12 of Americans are lactose intolerant. Europe falls in around 120 of people are lactose intolerant Varies by country. Most of the lactose intolerant people are in Asia Africa and Latin America. Not in the U.S. of A.