Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Should You "got milk?"

October 1993 began the famous milk campaign known as "got milk?" created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board. Between 1994 and 1995 advertising expenditures for the "got milk?' campaign increased by $37.9 million, and by 2002 was named in USA Today's top ten advertisements of all time. As early as elementary school I remember seeing my idol, Britney Spears on the "got milk?" ad in my lunch room. Since then stars like Taylor Swift, Hayden Panetierre, and Miley Cyrus have been featured as supporters of drinking milk. The claim that milk is essential to being healthy begs the questions, is our emphasis on "got milk?" far more than grammatically incorrect? 

It is common knowledge that milk contains the sugar, lactose, a simple carbohydrate. Lactose is made by the joining of the two simple sugars, glucose and galactose. Digesting milk involves splitting lactose into these two component parts. Lactase is the enzyme made by the body to do just this job. Most kids will keep producing high lactase amounts through age 5 and then will see a decrease or end to the production of the enzyme. Unlike many other nationalities, only about 15% of white Americans and northern Europeans are lactose intolerant. This anomaly is due to the mutation of the gene  T−13910 and A−22018 which are both related to lactase persistence. Other nationalities like South Africans are 60-90% lactose intolerant (depending on the source). As this research has come forward, scientist encourage the use of the terminology "lactose persistent" and "lactose non-persistant" to describe an individuals ability to digest milk products. Because we can predict a decrease in production of the lactase enzyme, being lactose intolerant (lactase non-persistant) is NOT a disease, but instead a condition regulated by our genetics.

The next question is what happens in the body if a lactase non-persistant individual ingests milk? Undigested lactose has to stay in your intestines where it actually draws water out of the intestinal tissue so that the lactose can be expelled from the body undigested. The build up of water and lactose in the intestines creates the bloated feeling we all know too well. The material that reaches the colon in this instance is a solution of lactose infested water instead of partially-dry solids; diarrhea promptly ensues. However, to add insult to injury, the bacteria in our colon have the nasty job of digesting the lactose before we expel our mistaken ice cream sunday. As the bacteria consume undigested lactose, they produce bubbles of gas, furthering our discomfort. It is important to note here that being lactose intolerant is not the same as having a milk allergy. Allergies are the effect of the body's immune system having a response to proteins. 

If your ancestors are from Great Britain, France, Germany or Scandinavia then congratulations, it is somewhat unlikely that you will ever become intolerant of milk. However, if your ancestors are from eastern Europe, northern India or anywhere along the Mediterranean you have more of a 50 percent chance of loosing your lactase enzyme. Finally, our South Africans should more often than not heed warning to the high possibility of loosing the lactase enzyme. 

If you are one of the many people who feel the effects of not being able to efficiently digest milk, there are many other great ways to literally add a pinch of calcium to your diet. The answer: dried herbs. Just adding a few pinches of select herbs to your sauces, soups, and stews is a first-class way of infusing more calcium into your diet. Dried savory tops the list with 2132mg of calcium per 100g serving (213%DV), that is 85mg (9% DV) per tablespoon. Other herbs that are high in calcium include celery seed, thyme, dill, rosemary, sage, oregano, spearmint, and basil.
Read more at http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-calcium.php#iYjewT0GBrJgJiie.99 

Don't suffer because a successful campaign has exposed us to the conclusion that milk is essential. Let's agree with our genes that the world has provided us with many other wonderful options for receiving calcium. 

Herbs, my favorite.  

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