Lactose intolerance may mean bone loss

Adults who limit dairy consumption because of lactose intolerance tend to get less calcium and Vitamin D in their diets than others and are prone to osteoporosis as a result, so concluded Israeli researchers who studied 66 lactose-intolerant adults. The study tested the hypothesis that long-term low calcium intake impairs bone metabolism in all age groups. Results showed that low calcium intakes and low vitamin D status were associated with increased bone turnover and decreased bone density, particularly in postmenopausal women and men. The authors recommend that, “a decrease in bone mass in lactose-intolerant patients should be diagnosed and corrected by proper diet or pharmacological supplements in all age groups,” rather than waiting until later in life when preventive therapy may be less effective. [Editor’s Note: The researchers noted fermented dairy products such as yogurt are well tolerated by lactose-intolerant people and should be considered an important source of calcium. One 8-oz. carton of flavored yogurt contains 350 mg. of calcium.] Dairy can be enjoyed by all ethnic groups There is no scientific justification for the claim that dairy products can be harmful to certain ethnic groups, according to an internationally renowned panel of scientific experts in lactose digestion that includes Dr. Noel Solomons, Dr. Robert Heaney, Dr. Michael Levitt, Dr. Jorge Rosado and Dr. Dennis Savaiano. In a Nutrition Today article summarizing their collective opinions, the experts confirmed that managing lactose intolerance is a straightforward and reliable process and that eliminating dairy foods is rarely necessary. The article notes that many special interest group claims regarding dairy foods are scientifically unfounded, reflecting the goal of advancing animal rights rather than human health. Moderate-regular eating decreases obesity People who think they can lose weight by skipping meals need to think again. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows people who eat more frequently during the day have almost half the incidence of obesity than people who eat less often. About 500 people were asked to recall their diets five times over one year. Those who eat four or more times daily (generally three meals and a snack) were 45 percent less likely to be obese. People who regularly skipped breakfast were 450 percent more likely to be obese. Analyses were adjusted for total energy intake and physical activity. There was no indication that eating at night contributed to greater weight, after taking into account total calories. Eating breakfast or dinner away from home was also associated with greater weight, potentially due to larger portions and more fat in restaurant food. Drinking milk can reduce asthma symptoms A study of preschoolers in the Netherlands found frequent consumption of products containing milkfat is associated with a reduced risk of asthma symptoms. This prospective study investigated the relationship of food consumption at 2 years of age to the presence of asthma symptoms reported at age 3 using a food frequency questionnaire. Daily consumption of whole milk (including full-fat yogurt and chocolate milk) and butter were significantly associated with low rates of asthma and wheeze. Daily (vs. rarely) consuming whole milk products was associated with a 41 percent reduction in asthma symptoms and daily (vs. rarely) consuming butter was associated with a 72 percent reduction in symptoms. Authors say these findings are consistent with those from other studies. People who eat dairy may live longer Researchers in Japan had previously reported that centenarians (people more than 100 years old) in Tokyo prefer dairy products, so they hypothesized that dietary preferences may be associated with longevity. They had identified 104 centenarians in 1992-1999 to investigate the relationship between dietary patterns and further survival and how survival was also influenced by the ability to perform activities of daily living, cognitive function, nutritional status and presence of disease. Using cluster analysis, the researchers identified four dietary patterns: a pattern preferring vegetables, dairy products, beverages or cereals. In 2001, 28 centenarians were still alive. Of the four dietary patterns, those preferring dairy foods (primarily milk and yogurt) had the highest survival rate. The authors note that milk and yogurt are rich in calcium and vitamin B2 (riboflavin); calcium regulates blood pressure and helps prevent osteoporosis, while riboflavin helps protect tissues from oxidative damage.

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