April 20th, 2010
06:07 PM ET

Many who think they’re lactose intolerant aren’t, panel says

By Trisha Henry
CNN Medical Producer

30 to 50 million Americans fear they are lactose intolerant. But are they?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.milk.comstock.jpg caption="According to a new report, many people who think they're lactose intolerant may not be"]Most people have some degree of difficulty digesting dairy, experts believe. One recent report suggested that the symptom trigger was not simply consuming dairy, but specifically the amount and the form.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance - diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas and/or bloating - occur after drinking or eating milk products. While most babies are born with enough of a specific enzyme in the small intestine to digest milk, this decreases and levels off as we mature into adults. You shouldn't have more symptoms at 60 than at 15, assuming your diet stays the same, says Dr. Marshall A. Wolf, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

A 14-member panel, organized by the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Program, looked at more than 35 studies. The experts were surprised to learn that many people avoid drinking milk in fear of getting sick when their stomachs could most likely handle more than they think. People are self-diagnosing based on previous symptoms or their family and ethnic backgrounds without actually getting a diagnosis from a doctor, the panel concluded. The bottom line: People who think they are lactose intolerant need to consider whether they are getting enough nutrients before cutting milk from their diet. The panel also found that limiting consumption of dairy foods containing lactose can leave many people without the necessary amount of calcium and vitamin D important for bone growth, and can lead to osteoporosis and other adverse health outcomes.

"Many people, having observed symptoms of lactose intolerance, assume they are allergic to milk and therefore avoid it completely,” said Wolf, a member of the panel. “But it turns out, it's not an allergy, it's a quantitative problem. Even those without the necessary enzyme can digest small amounts” of dairy.

However he does say that there is still a lot to learn on this topic. "Theoretically, if you replace the nutrients you get in milk with other food sources, you probably would end up neutral but we don't know that."

The report suggests that lactose intolerant consumers should not be afraid to start incorporating more dairy into their diet. One tip, the experts say, is to drink milk at different times throughout the day rather than all at once. Also, eat or drink dairy products with other foods. The report also recommends yogurt and cheese as a better alternative to milk.

Visit the Consensus Development Program http://consensus.nih.gov/ to read more about the report.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. vreyrolinomit

    You could definitely see your skills in the paintings you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren't afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart.


    January 18, 2021 at 04:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. vreyro linomit

    Someone essentially help to make seriously articles I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular publish amazing. Fantastic job!


    January 20, 2021 at 06:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. vreyrolinomit

    I believe this internet site has some very wonderful information for everyone : D.


    January 24, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. vreyrolinomit

    obviously like your web-site however you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to inform the truth however I will surely come again again.


    January 25, 2021 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. vreyrolinomit

    Hey there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Thanks!


    January 25, 2021 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Gordon Kutella

    Very good written story. It will be helpful to anybody who employess it, including myself. Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.


    January 28, 2021 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. vreyro linomit

    Hi , I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbled upon it on Yahoo , i will come back once again. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and help other people.


    January 31, 2021 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. zortilonrel

    I couldn’t resist commenting


    February 3, 2021 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. zortilonrel

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    February 4, 2021 at 06:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. zortilonrel

    This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it.


    February 4, 2021 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. zortilonrel

    Its like you learn my mind! You seem to grasp so much about this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something. I feel that you can do with some p.c. to drive the message home a little bit, however instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read. I'll certainly be back.


    February 4, 2021 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. https://europa-road.eu/hu/gepszallitas-arak-gyor.php

    Please let me know if you're looking for a article author for your blog. You have some really great articles and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested. Thank you!


    February 9, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. https://europa-road.eu/hu/gepszallitas-kulfoldrol.php

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I'm impressed! Extremely helpful information particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.


    February 9, 2021 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. vreyro linomit

    I couldn’t resist commenting


    February 9, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. vreyrolinomit

    Really Appreciate this update, can I set it up so I get an email every time you make a fresh post?


    February 9, 2021 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. zortilonrel

    great put up, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector do not notice this. You should proceed your writing. I am sure, you've a great readers' base already!


    February 10, 2021 at 03:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Your Private Proxy

    Outstanding post, you have pointed out some fantastic points, I too believe this s a very excellent website.


    February 14, 2021 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ClarkTauts

    uea80 vvqvl jpai

    February 28, 2021 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ClarkTauts

    9wa8o umyud sfpu

    March 1, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Loren Karlson

    Greetings from Los angeles! I'm bored to death at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you present here and can't wait to take a look when I get home. I'm shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, good site!


    March 3, 2021 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Johnette Lapoint


    March 4, 2021 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Mitzie Atiles

    Great write-up, I¡¦m regular visitor of one¡¦s blog, maintain up the nice operate, and It's going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.


    March 4, 2021 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Royea

    Can you head plainly offer a few your own blogposts provided that We produce credit ratings along with sources to your blog? The weblog is at the exact same market since your own house in addition to my people would likely really reap the benefits of many of the facts anyone produce here. Make sure you i want to know in case that alright together with you. Thanks a lot!


    March 7, 2021 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. holdover

    Ηi, I think your website may be having internet brоwser compаtibility іssues.
    Whenever I look at your ѕite in Ѕɑfari, it
    looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it's got somе overlapping issues.

    I merely wanted tо provide you with a quick heads up!
    Apart fr᧐m tһаt, wonderful website!

    March 12, 2021 at 01:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. froleprotrem

    naturally like your web site however you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the reality nevertheless I'll definitely come back again.


    March 14, 2021 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. froleprotrem

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    March 15, 2021 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. froleprotrem

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!


    March 16, 2021 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. frolep rotrem

    Some really good info , Gladiola I found this.


    March 21, 2021 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Ulrike Stgeorge

    I have been browsing on-line more than 3 hours these days, but I by no means discovered any fascinating article like yours. It¦s lovely price enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content as you did, the net can be much more helpful than ever before.


    March 24, 2021 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Eddie Erbe

    Very interesting info !Perfect just what I was looking for!


    March 24, 2021 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Reina Koren

    Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.


    March 25, 2021 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Brenda Boettcher

    Great remarkable things here. I am very glad to look your post. Thanks so much and i am taking a look forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?


    March 25, 2021 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Vance Vanburen

    I am very happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.


    March 25, 2021 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Rima Kainz

    This is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    March 28, 2021 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Shanita Deherrera

    Very nice post. I definitely appreciate this site. Continue the good work!


    March 30, 2021 at 03:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Kelvin Redcross

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It's the little changes that will make the most important changes. Thanks for sharing!


    March 31, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Nathanael Sachs

    I was very happy to uncover this web site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you book-marked to look at new things on your site.


    April 2, 2021 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Lora Dilillo

    Mining crypto is hard. Investing in crypto is risky. Too many of us are left out of the cryptocurrency revolution. Pi makes crypto mining easy, our Breakthrough tech allows you to mine on your phone without draining your battery.


    April 5, 2021 at 02:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. H.B.R. Layout Escorts service

    Thanks again for sharing a wonderful list. I was wondering u did not mention the most sought after terminology used in all the blog commenting articles.


    April 5, 2021 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Sammie Murphey

    Mining crypto is hard. Investing in crypto is risky. Too many of us are left out of the cryptocurrency revolution. Pi makes crypto mining easy, our Breakthrough tech allows you to mine on your phone without draining your battery.


    April 6, 2021 at 04:01 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply to zortilonrel


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.