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!!
Feb 27th, 2007, 09:24 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6397001.stm

Some points in this are highly annoying such as; "Patients with severe lactose intolerance can usually eat yogurt, hard cheeses and lactose-reduced milk and all are encouraged to eat these as a source of calcium and other nutrients." :rolleyes:



but it does prove some points that humans were not able to drink it until a few thousand years ago!

RachelJune
Feb 27th, 2007, 10:51 AM
I saw a news article along those lines in today's Metro newspaper :mad:
According to new research, Europeans did not learn to stomach cow's milk until 7,000 years ago. Apparently, "the ability to drink milk is the most advantageous trait that has evolved in Europeans in the recent past..."

Korn
Feb 27th, 2007, 11:58 AM
but it does prove some points that humans were not able to drink it until a few thousand years ago!


Sure, lots of humans may be able to drinking milk today - but....

With all the lactose intolerant people out there, plus those with milk allergy, I'm not even sure that it's correct to say that humans are there yet (that we can stomach milk) - or ever will get there. There are also lots of people who have health problems that are milk related without knowing it; both digestive problems and diseases that are associated with consumption of dairy products.

When they write that "A drink of milk was off the menu for Europeans until only a few thousand years ago, say researchers from London", and then this...


In order to digest milk, adult humans need to have a gene which produces an enzyme called lactase to break down lactose, one of the main sugars it contains.

Without it, a drink of milk proves an uncomfortable experience, causing bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

Today, more than 90% of people of northern European origin have the gene.

Working with scientists from Mainz University in Germany, the UCL team looked for the gene that produces the lactase enzyme in Neolithic skeletons dating between 5480BC and 5000BC.

These are believed to be from some of the earliest farming communities in Europe.

The lactase gene was absent from the DNA extracted from these skeletons, suggesting that these early Europeans would not be tolerant to milk.


... maybe it says something about how 'natural' it is to drink milk. A few thousand years ago these Europeans didn't have that gene, and even today, after a thousands of years of trying to adopt humans to drinking milk from another species, milk consumption means problems in one way or the other for billions of people, including millions of Europeans... plus, of course - for all the cows.

According to National Institutes of Health (in US), 30-50 million Americans are lactose intolerant - and the white population in US is of European descent:

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/lactoseintolerance/ :


Between 30 and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant and certain ethnic and racial populations are more affected than others. Up to 80 percent of African Americans, 80 to 100 percent of American Indians, and 90 to 100 percent of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant. The condition is least common among people of northern European descent.

There are more numbers here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactose_intolerance). 93-98% of the Chinese/Thai/Southeast Asians population is lactose intolerant. That's a lot of people. Looking at the numbers for Sicily (71%), Southern Italy (51%), Cretans (56%), Balkans (55%), Southern French (65%), Greek Cypriots (66%), and taking people with milk allergy, lactose maldigesters - and those with health problems associated with milk consumption into consideration, can we really claim that Europeans can stomach milk?



It is interesting that many people who report problems with consuming lactose are not actually lactose intolerant. In a study of 323 Sicilian adults, Carroccio et al (1998) found only 4% were both lactose intolerant and lactose maldigesters, while 32.2% were lactose maldigesters but did not test as lactose intolerant. However, Burgio et al.(1984) found that 72% of 100 Sicilians were lactose intolerant in their study and 106 of 208 northern Italians (i.e., 51%) were lactose intolerant.


Looking at these numbers, and knowing how many people who belong to the groups that are in the 80-100% range, and adding all those in the 50-80% range (Southern Indians, South Americans, Rural Mexicans, Lebanese, Central Asians and others), saying that humans generally have a problem with stomaching milk wouldn't be very far from the truth. With 70% lactose intolerant people in Southern India, and 25% in Northern India, there could be several hundred millions of lactose intolerant people in India alone. The writers of the article Lactose Intolerance is Normal (http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2002/june/lactose.htm), Dr Julia Lee-Thorp and Dr Becky Rogers Ackermann, suggest that 'most adults in the world are lactose intolerant, clearly making this the normal adult condition':


In his article Milk Allergy and Lactose Intolerance (May 2002), Dr Steinman gives the following figures for lactose intolerance for children over 5 years old: "90-95% of black individuals and 20-25% of white individuals throughout the world". In fact, the picture is much more complicated. Many Asian populations, especially people from Far East, have rates of lactase deficiency approaching 100%. Additionally, there are a few groups in Africa, such as the Fulani, who have relatively low rates of lactose intolerance (around 20-25 percent). Conversely, some European populations like the Swedes are almost completely lactose tolerant (apx. 4% deficiency). Given that most of the world does not fall neatly into 'black' or 'white' categories, such variation is important. In fact, the world average for lactose intolerance is probably much closer to the 90-95% range given for 'blacks.' Therefore, we were very surprised to see this condition described as a "disease". Elsewhere we have seen it described as a "disorder". Why should this be when most adults in the world are lactose intolerant, clearly making this the normal adult condition? The perception of lactose intolerance as a health problem is a rather narrow Western view.


Asia + Africa counts for 4.8 billion people, the remaining 1.8 billion (representing 27% of the human population) is living in Europe, Central/South/Northern America and Oceania. Since those with milk allergy or diseases associated with consuming dairy products (http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/dairy.html) are not included in these numbers, and since China, Southeast Asia, Africa, India etc. represent such a large part of the world population, it looks to me like most humans still 'can't stomach' milk from cows.

I guess one reason humans at some point started to use cow's milk was hunger, and because of the size of cows (and other practical reasons), it's a lot easier to commercialize cow's milk than milk from goats, pigs or chimpanzees, which may have milk 'more suitable' for humans (from a non-vegan perspective).

!!
Feb 27th, 2007, 01:12 PM
yes, i agree, it's a very convincing argument that it's not natural at all! :) but we all knew that anyway! hehe.

Korn
Mar 3rd, 2007, 11:12 AM
In fact, the world average for lactose intolerance is probably much closer to the 90-95% range given for 'blacks.' Therefore, we were very surprised to see this condition described as a "disease". Elsewhere we have seen it described as a "disorder". Why should this be when most adults in the world are lactose intolerant, clearly making this the normal adult condition?

It seems that the percentage of the total world population that are lactose intolerant is between 70 and 75%, according to various sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactose_intolerance:
"Approximately 70% of the global population cannot tolerate lactose in adulthood"
http://www.foodreactions.org/intolerance/lactose/prevalence.html:
Prevalence, Age, Gender & Genetics:
"Late onset lactase deficiency is the most common type of lactoe intolerance (LI). It is estimated to affect around 75% of the world population. Lactose intolerance varies from human group to another one. Moreover, onset of lactose intolerance varies from children of a group to another."
http://www.answers.com/topic/lactose-intolerance-1:
"Experts believe that 75% of the adult population worldwide does not produce enough lactase and is at risk for some or all of the symptoms of lactose intolerance."
http://www.allergyescape.com/milk-allergy.html
"Whereas a very small percentage of the population is allergic to milk, it is estimated that 70% of the world's population has trouble digesting lactose, so lactose accounts for the vast majority of milk-related digestive problems. "

aubergine
Mar 3rd, 2007, 03:37 PM
You could argue that given such adverse reactions such as heart disease, cancer and so on that modern man can't stomach milk either.

sacrilegend
Mar 4th, 2007, 05:13 PM
Can somebody tell me wat this is roughly about? I've tried reafding but I think my brain has stopped functioning.

Korn
Mar 12th, 2007, 03:45 PM
It's about whether humans and milk from non-humans did go well along a few thousand years ago, and if the human race as such is stomaching non-human milk today....


Here's something I just found (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactose_intolerance#History_of_diagnosis):

In Europe, Roman sources attest that milk was often used as a purgative (to induce vomiting and diarrhea), and horse milk is suggested as the best, with goat's milk as the worst. This corresponds to the amount of lactose in the milk; horse milk has a great deal of lactose, and goat's milk not very much.