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Health Effects of Self-Perceived Lactose Intolerance

August 3, 2011

1 Min Read
Health Effects of Self-Perceived Lactose Intolerance

Consumers with self-perceived lactose intolerance eat few dairy foods, and also have high incidence of diabetes and hypertension, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study with a national sample of 3,452 adults. Among the study respondents, 12.3% perceived themselves to be lactose intolerant. These respondents had significantly lower (P < 0.05) average daily calcium intakes from dairy foods than respondents who did not perceived themselves as lactose intolerance. In addition, a significantly higher (P < 0.05) percentage of respondents with self-perceived lactose intolerance reported having physician-diagnosed diabetes and hypertension, compared to other respondents. Researchers concluded that the odds of self-reported physician-diagnosed diabetes or hypertension decreased by factors of 0.70 and 0.60, respectively, for a 1000-mg increase in calcium intake from dairy foods per day."

Greg Miller, Ph.D., M.A.C.N., Executive Vice President of National Dairy Council said the results indicate that higher prevalence of diabetes and hypertension may be associated with lower dairy calcium intake in those with self-perceived lactose intolerance. The findings also demonstrate that prevalence rates for lactose intolerance are considerably lower than previous estimates from lactose maldigestion studies. As such, self-perceived lactose intolerance may be a barrier to helping individuals consume the recommended servings of dairy foods each day and the important nutrients they provide. It is important to understand that fewer individuals experience lactose intolerance than previously thought and health professionals should focus on determining the source of symptoms. Health professionals should also provide guidance to help consumers incorporate dairy foods into their diet to help ensure adequate nutrient intakes."

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