December 12th, 2012

The shrinking milk market

Apparently you do outgrow your need for milk; sales of milk in this country have been plummeting.

Well, you may or may not outgrow your need for it, but a lot of people outgrow their ability to digest it without a lot of discomfort. According to the article, one of the reasons for the milk sales decline is that the population has a lower percentage of children in it. I would add that it may also be that because of changing demographics, a growing percentage of children are lactose intolerant.

Lactose intolerance develops after the age of weaning in the majority of people worldwide. In fact, the ability to digest milk as an adult without experiencing any negative symptoms (gas, bloating, etc.) is the exception rather than the rule:

The frequency of decreased lactase activity ranges from 5% in northern Europe through 71% for Sicily to more than 90% in some African and Asian countries. This distribution is now thought to have been caused by recent natural selection favoring lactase persistant individuals in cultures that rely on dairy products. While it was first thought that this would mean that populations in Europe, India, and Africa had high frequencies of lactase persistence because of a particular mutation, it has now been shown that lactase persistence is caused by several independently occurring mutations.

As for me—well, I detest milk, and have ever since I was a very small child. You’d have to hold a gun to my head to get me to drink it. At some point in early adulthood, a somewhat sadistic doctor ordered a test during which I had to drink twelve ounces of lactose (milk sugar, the stuff lactose intolerant people can’t digest) on an empty stomach, and he then measured my rise in blood sugar afterward for several hours. There was no rise at all, meaning that I’m one of those people who lacks all ability to digest lactose (some people have a partial inability).

I will spare you a description of how I felt during the hours after I swilled down that abominable stuff. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

So, are you a milk drinker?

65 Responses to “The shrinking milk market”

  1. Sam L. Says:

    Yes, but not often.

  2. Teri Pittman Says:

    I like dairy and do not have any ill effects from drinking it. I’ve never really been a milk drinker though. I like to use it in tea. Since I’ve been doing Paleo, I have tried to cut back on dairy. Still do cottage cheese and add cheese to a few dishes. I’ve been able to transition to coconut milk in my tea.

    Most of the dairy products out there are poor quality. I think that the use of rBGH is really part of the reason consumption has dropped. People just don’t trust the quality any more.

  3. vanderleun Says:

    When I could still happily and without ruin eat Oreos and their cousins by the boxload I did do a lot of milk.

    Today, milk is mostly going into my coffee at about a tablespoon a cup.

    I once could do a quart a day. Now a quart can last more than a week. My last quart was around so long it turned.

    Now…. if only I could make the same arrangement with cheese….

  4. nyght Says:

    Bloomberg would hate me. I drink vitamin D. Usually about 16-20 oz/day at work. I don’t usually have it at home on the weekends for some reason, though.

    Even my coworkers think I’m nuts for drinking vitamin D (AKA “Whole”) milk, but I like it.

    And as my mom taught me, it helps build strong bones 16 ways! 😀

  5. Mr. Frank Says:

    Milk and chocolate chip cookies — mmmm good.

  6. DNW Says:

    vanderleun Says:

    December 12th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
    When I could still happily and without ruin eat Oreos and their cousins by the boxload I did do a lot of milk.

    Today, milk is mostly going into my coffee at about a tablespoon a cup.

    I once could do a quart a day. Now a quart can last more than a week. My last quart was around so long it turned.

    Now…. if only I could make the same arrangement with cheese….”

    On the latter, I, to coin a cliche, “hear you”.

    A huge milk drinker as a child, I couldn’t imagine eating cheese, which seemed to me – and I have no idea why – something which weird and creepy people ate. (Maybe something to do with a childish and imaginary suburban vision of short stinky peasant types gobbling smelly curdled whatever)

    Now however, like many others since the 80’s wine craze, I have made a habit of it … even if I tend toward the bland non-exotics.

    As for milk, and to answer Neo’s question … use it on those occasions when I need to gulp down something rather than eat, and leave the regular milk drinking to kids and my 80 plus year old parents who consume it daily.

    Guess I’ve got the gene.

  7. roc scssrs Says:

    The old Cold War story was that the U.S. shipped so much dried milk as food aid to (lactose-intolerant) peoples that eventually they were using it to make whitewash. Anyway, as a kid I never really liked the stuff, but still it seemed a necessity with the aforementioned Oreos and Mom’s apple pie. I’ve since found I like skim better than whole, though I don’t drink a lot. But what else can you put on your Cheerios?

  8. blert Says:

    Non-Europeans are almost universally lactose intolerant.

    The demographics have shifted. The next generation is drifting down to 55% European American — and headed lower.


    A Kosher kitchen is a direct consequence of lactose intolerance — though the link is buried by time and custom.

    While the ancient Hebrews certainly herded goats — it’s quite plain that goat’s milk was promptly converted to storable cheeses. In a world without ice or artificial refrigeration, it was the only way to go.

    When clean water is hard to come by — the ancient Middle East — one must be fastidious in the kitchen. There are simply no end of pathogens that bloom when warm milk is to hand.

    Such strictures are now embedded in Jewish culture — to the point that Jerry Seinfeld had a field day harpooning his own phobia of everyday germs.

    For the ultimate in comedic extremism: Phil Hartman’s ‘anal-retentive-carpenter skit.

    It’s a pastiche of DIY carpentry TV ( Norm Abrams ) and French Cooking TV ( Julia Childs ) — in the manner of a generic flaming homosexual cum obsessive-compulsive neatness freak.

    Whereas the TV hosts fly through procedures — Hartman can’t get out of first gear.

    His farce brought the house down. It’s now a part of SNL’s Best of.

  9. parker Says:

    My dairy intake is cream in coffee, cheese (those snobby French ones) once in a while, and buttermilk in mashed potatoes.

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    oh yes, never a bit of trouble with it. just lucky i guess. In the 70’s on a health kick I went from regular milk to 1% (can’t do skim) and ever since have found that regular milk, tastes way too rich.

  11. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    There is absolutely nothing better than ice cold whole milk (or even better Jersey Milk with extra fat) and pie. (sort of David Lynch-ey but there you go). But you have to do it the american way (pasturized not risky raw milk, Louis P didn’t invent that for his amusement) with no UHT, soy or other erzatz blends.

    Tough for the Lactose intolerant but you could say the same thing about Austrian Pastry and the gluten-free eater.

  12. chuck Says:

    I make yogurt out of it and eat maybe a cup a day. I like sour cream also.

  13. Al Says:

    Pouring orange juice on my Cap’n Crunch instead of milk makes for a damn fine meal.

  14. expat Says:

    I can eat everything. ODing on strong French coffee can provoke an acid stomach, but otherwise anything goes. I don’t drink much milk, but I use it in tea and coffee. I eat all sorts of milk products and I like cream soups and sauces. I guess I’m lucky to be able to try any kind of food. I draw a line at trying chicken feet, but that has more to do with feather phobia (caused by seeing slaughtered chickens running around with their heads chopped off and a few encounters with mean roosters) than physical intolerance.

  15. artfldgr Says:

    basically this is what you would see if the dominant lactose tolerant group was genocided out and a lactose intolerant group replaced them

    The prevalence of primary lactose deficiency varies according to race. In a review by Gudmand-Hoyer E in published on The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1994), it is lowest in Scandinavia and Northwest Europe (3-8%) and close to 100% in most of Southeast Asia.

    so the more whites die out and are not replaced…
    the less milk you need as they drink less, make less cheeses, etc.

    so, its just one more of the many facts and things that i said IF YOU PUT TOGETHER, you will find that one race has been genocided slowly, with the decline hidden in the boomer numbers and the immigration open borders.

    genocide is the end of a race

    The means is irrelevant other than its done with malice and forethought…

    feminism and ideology and redistribution has exterminated one population and when the old die out fast in the next few years… that will become apparent as the minority left will be forced to pay all the welfare, affirmative action and all that for the majority who hates them and whose various ideologies call for them to be exterminated.

    Shoa II… almost finished…

  16. Lizzy Says:

    I’ve always loved milk and still drink a couple glasses a day. A local dairy here still delivers (yay!) and their selling point is that it tastes exactly the same, week to week, because it’s always from the same herd of cows (as opposed to large distributors who are mixing together batches from different dairy farms).

  17. carl in atlanta Says:

    I still like it with cookies, cake, chocolate, etc., but my wife has gotten more and more lactose intolerant since she turned 50, and can’t touch the stuff now (in liquid form, at least).

    I remember reading that lactose tolerance is indeed the exception and probably evolved in European populations during the course of several Ice Ages…

  18. MBE Says:

    I love milk, and drink only the extra creamy stuff, which is higher in fat (which is a good thing), and lower in sugar than skim and low-fat milks (sugar is about the worst thing you can have).

    At least a glass a day!

  19. Capn Rusty Says:

    Sounds as though liking milk is going to be racist . . .

  20. Mike Says:

    On a regular basis I go through a Gallon of Milk a week. The cheese, sour cream and ice cream are positive add ons :-). I think I learned it from my father. At 87 his primary drink is still milk. And his stomach is getting out there far enough that he should be drinking skim but prefers whole milk. I’m glad I am not Lactose intolerance.

  21. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    Am I a milk drinker?

    Less than I was when younger, and there are times when I go off it entirely now… I often go 6 months without buying any… But it’s not from any malaise it causes, I seriously just don’t feel any physical “demand” for it.

    But until I hit 25 or so I drank probably about 3 gallons every 2 weeks on a consistent basis. Never had the slightest problem, despite being 50% Italian (seemed relevant given your stat suggesting the further south one’s ancestors came from the more likely to be intolerant). The rest is all from northern Europe, though, with a few Amerinds IIRC.

  22. chuck Says:

    This reminds me of the Japanese observation that the Portuguese who first arrived in Japan “smelled of butter.”

  23. Sangiovese Says:

    Can’t stand milk and have not consumed any in several decades. But I love cheese (especially Swiss) and yogurt is also a favorite. I love butter but very rarely use it. Just too hard on the arteries and the waistline.

    I’ve heard that cheese, yogurt and ice cream are more easily tolerated than straight milk for some reason. Something about the lactose being in a more digestible form. Sorry, it’s been several years since I read it and can’t remember the source.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    Sangiovese: that’s correct. The lactose is mostly converted into something else; forget what.

  25. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I was in New Zealand last month. They used to be the world’s number one exporter of wool, but fabric manufacturers found substituites for wool. The Kiwis are down from 89 million sheep to only 29 million now. They have ramped up their dairy industry to take up the slack. A lot of their milk is transformed to whey protein and sold in Asia. I don’t know if Asians have a problem digesting whey protein. It’s a cheap source of high quality protein. The Kiwis are very dependent on exporting those dairy products (milk, whey, butter, cheese, etc) and most of it is going to Asia.

    Since most Kiwis have European ancestry, they have no problem with milk. Nor do I.

    We stopped at a farm where they served us scones with fresh butter. Oh my, I had forgotten such butter existed anymore. Took me back to my grandparent’s farm and the fresh butter they churned there. Purely delicious!

    blert, thanks for the bio-genetic history sketch of lactose intolerance and kosher food. Too bad our experts on diet and weight control don’t look at those factors a bit more. IMO, they explain a lot.

  26. expat Says:

    Maybe that explains why all the ice cream parlors in Germany are Italian and why the best yoghurt i Greek.

  27. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I don’t think I have a problem with drinking milk straight by the glassfull – I just don’t like to. I will take it in tea, and cook readily with cream, butter and yoghurt, and we both love cheese of all sorts – bought and the stuff that we make ourselves.
    At the age of a year, when my daughter was transitioning to milk from formula, it turned out that she couldn’t digest cow milk. She could handle goat milk, though – and when we couldn’t get that (save going out to a local farm in Greece and milking the goat myself!) she adored the local yoghurt and cheese, and digested them very well.

  28. rickl Says:

    carl in atlanta Says:
    December 12th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I remember reading that lactose tolerance is indeed the exception and probably evolved in European populations during the course of several Ice Ages…

    I read an article a couple of years ago that said lactose tolerance may have been a genetic mutation in a particular group of people. It is thought that they came from Central Asia and migrated westward into Europe. This apparently happened during the Neolithic period.

    The ability to digest lactose may have given them a competitive advantage, since they had an additional source of protein. They may also have been the first to make cheese and butter.

  29. Otiose Says:

    Lactaid works.

  30. rickl Says:

    As for me, I never could stand the taste of milk. Even as a child, I would only drink chocolate milk.

    I like various kinds of cheese, and since I started doing more cooking a couple of years ago, I’ve been using butter instead of margarine. I think I may be partially intolerant, though.

    I use milk when it’s called for in recipes. I wish I could buy it in those tiny cartons they used to have in the school cafeteria. The smallest size I can find at the supermarket is a pint, and if a recipe calls for half a cup, I usually end up throwing the rest out when it goes bad.

  31. vanderleun Says:

    artfldgr Says: “basically this is what you would see if the dominant lactose tolerant group was genocided out and a lactose intolerant group replaced them…””

    Ah yes, ye olde conspiracies in everything brain heard from dependably.

    Dgr, don’t take this the wrong way, but….. seek professional help.

  32. neo-neocon Says:

    Otiose: Lactaid may “work,” but not if someone detests milk.

  33. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    Being a good Wisconsin Badger, I love the stuff. Life would be a much sadder place without milk and cheese.

  34. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    As a child I was allergic to milk and as such drank canned soy milk. YUUUCCCCKKK.
    Could have Ice Cream. Had sherbet. OK.
    No problem with milk or ice cream (unfortunately) these days.
    But just don’t use much.
    Cut back to black coffee becaus of the cream turning occasionally.

  35. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Thought I wrote “couldn’t” instead of “could” have ice cream as a child.

  36. Eric Wilner Says:

    Ah, digesting lactose as an adult – my favorite Mutant Power!
    I consume mass quantities of milk, especially in hot weather, and moderate amounts of cheese. Never had any problem digesting the stuff, though I’ve occasionally noticed a correlation between consumption of dairy products and upper respiratory crud.

  37. thomass Says:

    No; but I like products like cheese and ice cream.

  38. CV Says:

    This conversation reminds me of an old Jerry Seinfeld comment about lactose intolerance. He said,

    “I have no patience for lactose. I won’t stand for it!”

    I could probably give up drinking milk but it would make it hard to eat cereal. And oreos. But I could not live without eating cheese and ice cream.

    So I guess that makes me one of the 1% 🙂 those who digest lactose just fine, thanks.

  39. n.n Says:

    Yes, but not for breakfast, and generally not on an empty stomach.


    It is a normalization of dysfunctional behaviors. A general devaluation of human life. It is voluntary suicide committed over generations.

    The irony is that the people who claim the greatest appreciation for evolution, are the one’s most likely to reject its principles. They wield an article of faith, evolution as a description of origin, to delegitimize their competing interests, which in America and Europe are primarily Christians, while simultaneously rejecting its central, objective principle: evolutionary fitness.

    In the early 20th century it was eugenics, an involuntary culling. Just past mid-century, it reappeared as “Roe vs Wade”, a voluntary culling scheme, which was the first successful effort to normalize elective abortion of human life. It has since progressed under the euphemistic umbrella term “reproductive rights”, where even people who assume human life to possess an intrinsic value, will defend the termination of human life when it is literally incapable of protest and without recourse to due process.

    If it is a conspiracy to genocide, then it is a self-inflicted outcome. It is the paradox of civilization. The dysfunctional behaviors are initially proscribed, but with the emergence of decadence, the members of a society enjoy an opportunity to wallow in retrogressive behaviors. Their numbers will decline with each succeeding generation, and they will either suffer progressive and, eventually, conclusive corruption, or will be conquered by an external force whose members retain a superior grasp of reality.

  40. Melissa Says:

    I like milk and don’t have any trouble drinking it, I just don’t do it very often. And when I do buy it, I usually end up throwing about half away. I’ve started keeping a box of powdered milk on hand. I can make a quart when I want that taste or when I need it for cereal or a recipe, but I don’t have to feel like I’m wasting it if I throw some away. Powdered milk is really good if you let it get very cold before drinking it. As far as coffee is concerned, I use evaporated milk for coffee, it tastes better than regular milk. I buy lots of evaporated milk. In a pinch, I’ve diluted that to act as regular milk, usually when I’m making a spur of the moment mac and cheese and I don’t feel like running to the store.

  41. Otiose Says:

    Neo/ I never drink milk straight either. I don’t detest it tho. My wife and I drink a chocolate milk I make everyday.

    Lactaid whole milk + stevia + vanilla + cinnamon + stevia + Hershey’s cocoa powder and then honey.

    The trick to not gaining weight is to drink it BEFORE dinner – it cuts down the amount you eat. If you drink it afterward you will gain weight.

  42. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    }}} the Portuguese who first arrived in Japan “smelled of butter.”

    Pretty sure they used butter as “hair gel” back then….

  43. Don Carlos Says:

    I grew up on a farm on milk fresh from the udder, delivered warm from the cow in an open bucket. Unpasteurized, strained thru cheesecloth. Which was not devoid of risk, due to the possibility of bovine tuberculosis and other baddies, as I learned much later on. We refrigerated it and happily drank it when cold, except when Bossie had eaten some ragweed, which gave it a distinct yucky flavor.

    I still love milk, with breakfast and with cookies, and cannot comprehend folks just plain not liking it. But then I like just about every food and flavor.

    I’ll have a glass now, and then to bed.

  44. thomass Says:

    expat Says:

    “Maybe that explains why all the ice cream parlors in Germany are Italian and why the best yoghurt i Greek.”

    Milk is defiantly a Euro thing. Intolerance to it is much more widespread among other ethnic groups. I figure milk goes along with beer in Europe. If you couldn’t tolerate either you chances of survival dropped a lot.

  45. rickl Says:

    Now beer intolerance would make me want to slit my throat.

  46. Former Marine's Mom Says:

    I switched to raw milk from a small farmer a few months ago. I believe that homogenization is an evil and unnatural process. The raw milk is an abominable price, so we drink less of it, but I love it. Part of my drive to eat less processed food, which seems to be helping my digestion.

  47. Jewel Says:

    When I was a child, my father thought he could stretch the milk budget of a family of 7 by mixing 1/2 gallon of nonfat dry milk to 1/2 gallon of whole milk. The end product was a light, greenish lumpen product that we hated. We were forced to drink it. I don’t mind milk, now, but I prefer it as yogurt, cheese or sour cream. I don’t use it to cook with, but use half and half for anything that calls for whole milk.
    My twins became very milk intolerant and both drink almond milk, which is actually quite tasty.

  48. beverly Says:

    Devon Cream Teas! with scones, clotted cream, and jam. Um-yum.

    What I call “Heidi meals”: good cheese, good bakery bread (a boule or something) and a piece of fresh fruit. Or cold milk on cereal.

    And, of course, ice cream.

    [I am The Ultimate WASP.]

  49. davisbr Says:

    LOL. 60 years old. Celtic mix w/significant maternal & paternal Native American bloodlines.

    Milk? – Somewhere north of a gallon of whole milk in a typical week (sometimes this will be the rich stuff w/the fats that rise to the surface in the glass 1/2 gallon bottles: I love fresh milk). With maybe a pint-to-quart of yoghurt (Greek style really is best: it’s the texture). In the summer, a pint of cottage cheese; often more. In the winter, several ounces of cheese (various sorts); somewhat less (weekly) in the summer. Well, maybe. No idea on butter intake (probably a minimum of 1/4 lb).

    Oh, these are when my lactose cravings are highest. I have periods where the above weekly estimates may be cut in half for various lengths of time.

    I also intermittently supplement my diet for varying periods with 1-5B units of probiotic (primarily acidopholous bacteria) daily, liquid and/or pill form.

    Plus 5K of D daily in gel cap. And a low dosage aspirin daily.

    Life is good.

  50. Ron Says:

    For those who drink milk . . . The “feeding” of antibiotics to “cows” today cause more problems than any potential benefit of milk (IMHO).

    For those who want to drink milk, find a reliable source of raw milk, sheep’s milk or goat’s milk.

  51. Mike Says:

    There is always an ant at the picnic. Thanks for being that ant Ron.
    While the other comments dealt with what the question was “So are you a milk drinker?”, your answer did not. Thanks for the lecture, not.
    I suspect you toe the typical liberal line- I know more than the common folk, I shuld educate them.
    The consumers have no control over what the farmers do and raw milk has its own potential problems for those that drink it. But it is their choice. I don’t have to offer my advice unless asked.
    As someone said once, if you boil down everything the liberals stand for from Smoking to Gay Marriage or Global Warming to drinking Milk, it would look like this:
    What is not Forbidden is Mandatory.
    PS: If I’ve traveled down the wrong road in your comment, I apologize. Your comment just annoyed me in a way none of the others did. Not quite sure why.

  52. Chuck Says:

    I read recently that Mark Bittman went off dairy and his life radically improved. Lactose intolerance is indeed a major issue for many people.

    I switched to drinking raw milk from a local farm about 3 years ago. Even though I had done research into raw milk having enzymes that help humans digest dairy (the pasteurization process kills these enzymes as well as many other beneficial nutrients), I was still amazed at my intestinal health (I had never thought of myself as having many problems either).

    For those of you who are or may be lactose intolerant but love milk, you may want to look into trying raw milk (we make greek-style yogurt from it too). You do want to find a reputable farm–it needs to be a clean operation.

    Mike, not all raw milk drinkers are liberals. As a libertarian, I see the general prohibition of raw milk in most states as typical rent-seeking behavior by large dairy businesses who use the government to prevent small, family run farms from selling a product. Of course the idea behind outlawing raw milk (in the 1930s or so?) had its idea in public safety. But who says raw milk isn’t safe now? Typically, only government regulators and large dairy companies. So big government and big business are cozy.

    The fact that technology has changed and made farms cleaner and safer so that they can provide a different product (I would say superior, but that’s a private opinion) does not enter into the calculus anymore. Farms, in general, still can’t sell their milk. But they can drink it themselves. For those who may wonder how people can get raw milk, you may have to own a cow to get some, or more commonly, own a share of a cow in a cow-boarding program. Sorry about the raw milk rant. Maybe it’s something in my milk.

  53. fmt Says:

    It’s fun to read all the misinformation out there about milk. Like so many other things, the truth is the opposite of the mythos.

    Ron, dairy cows are not fed antibiotics. If they are treated with antibiotics for an illness, their milk is withheld from sale until it is free of antibiotics. Dairy farmers hate to treat their cows with antibiotics because then they aren’t paid for the milk the cow produces.

    Chuck, I support your right to buy and drink raw milk. That said, there are real health concerns with doing so, and people still get sick from it. Large producers of milk couldn’t care less about the small operations selling raw milk. If they didn’t sell it raw, they’d still sell it, so it makes no difference in the supply.

    Hospitals are cleaner than ever, too, but you can still get nosocomial illnesses from them that will kill you. Dairy farmers can do everything right, and their milk will still contain organisms that can make you sick. It’s why pasteurization came into use.

    Having seen many, many farms, including “organic” ones, I would not drink raw milk from many of them. I’d be especially careful about feeding it to young children and people who are immuno-compromised.

  54. Rick L. Says:

    I drank a lot of milk as a kid but don’t anymore. I do, however, start each day with a glass of homemade kefir. Keeps me going until lunch.

  55. waltj Says:

    I’m somewhat lactose intolerant, but I’m usually ok with cheese or ice cream, or a small portion of milk for my cereal. But that tall, 16-oz. glass of milk that I had as a kid tears up my stomach. I first discovered this in high school, when I had, let’s call it, gastric distress every school day. My breakfast usually consisted of cereal & milk, and a separate glass of milk. But on weekends, when I usually didn’t drink the glass of milk, my stomach was fine. Trouble was, I didn’t put two and two together until I was in college. I noticed that the dorm breakfast of eggs, sausage/bacon, and toast caused me no problems, and I could even have a bowl of cereal. But an added glass of milk would result in a churning, gassy stomach, and culminate in a desperate dash to the men’s room. Nowadays, I just buy lactose-free milk and don’t worry about it.

  56. artfldgr Says:

    And the Winner of TIME’s Person of the Year Reader Poll Is…

    Kim Jong Un

  57. DNW Says:

  58. Jack Says:

    The following is from

    Most cheeses don’t contain lactose! What’s happening when milk turns to cheese is a souring process called acidification, whereby the lactose in milk is converted into lactic acid. This is the magical fermentation process in cheesemaking, when a sugar — in this case, milk sugar, or lactose — is converted into something else — in this case, lactic acid, which happens to be an entirely different entity from lactose. By the time a cheese is made, most or all of the lactose that had been present in the milk no longer remains.

    The longer that milk is left to sour, the greater the opportunity for all of that lactose to dissipate into lactic acid. A longer period of acidification allows the protein chains to form even stronger bonds, which will result in a firmer curd — and ultimately a firmer cheese that can age longer. Therefore, it’s the harder, drier, and more aged cheeses that will be the safest to eat if you’re lactose intolerant. Fresher cheeses that are higher in moisture may retain a small amount of lactose because the milk has not been left to ferment completely. People who are lactose intolerant may have issues with fresher styles.

  59. davisbr Says:

    Damn. How could I have forgotten this entirely illuminating article? And at Slate(!), of all places! I mean, when was the last time you were even at Slate, let alone being informed while there, lol?

    Slate: The Most Spectacular Mutation in Recent Human History: How did milk help found Western civilization?

    …Two hundred thousand years later, around 10,000 B.C., this began to change. A genetic mutation appeared, somewhere near modern-day Turkey, that jammed the lactase-production gene permanently in the “on” position. The original mutant was probably a male who passed the gene on to his children. People carrying the mutation could drink milk their entire lives. Genomic analyses have shown that within a few thousand years, at a rate that evolutionary biologists had thought impossibly rapid, this mutation spread throughout Eurasia, to Great Britain, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, India and all points in between, stopping only at the Himalayas. Independently, other mutations for lactose tolerance arose in Africa and the Middle East, though not in the Americas, Australia, or the Far East.

    In an evolutionary eye-blink, 80 percent of Europeans became milk-drinkers; in some populations, the proportion is close to 100 percent. (Though globally, lactose intolerance is the norm; around two-thirds of humans cannot drink milk in adulthood.) The speed of this transformation is one of the weirder mysteries in the story of human evolution, more so because it’s not clear why anybody needed the mutation to begin with. Through their cleverness, our lactose-intolerant forebears had already found a way to consume dairy without getting sick, irrespective of genetics

    Definitely a “must read”.

  60. rickl Says:

    That’s a good article, davisbr. It’s not the same article I referred to last night, but it tracks well with what I remember reading.

    Off topic, but I think there’s a good chance that agriculture was invented to ensure a steady supply of grain for brewing beer. Seriously.

    In addition to the pleasant side effects from drinking beer, there was a practical aspect: The fermentation process killed disease organisms and made water safe to drink. Beer is mostly water, and this would have been an early form of water treatment.

  61. DNW Says:

    n.n Says: …

    “The irony is that the people who claim the greatest appreciation for evolution, are the one’s most likely to reject its principles.

    They wield an article of faith, evolution as a description of origin, to delegitimize their competing interests, … while simultaneously rejecting its central, objective principle: evolutionary fitness.

    If it is a conspiracy to genocide, then it is a self-inflicted outcome. It is the paradox of civilization. … dysfunctional behaviors are initially proscribed, but with the emergence of decadence, the members of a society enjoy an opportunity to wallow in retrogressive behaviors.

    … they will either suffer progressive and, eventually, conclusive corruption, or will be conquered by an external force whose members retain a superior grasp of reality.”

    This important description of a bizarre intellectual/moral dynamic has been made before, but not often enough, and bears repeating.

    Of course the hedonic nihilists imagine that technical means will allow them to float above the consequences enjoined by the social laws of the past, and perhaps even enable them to mutate into something else entirely before the bill comes due. “Let the collector come. There will be no one home to pay.”

    Maybe. But, what is it that they wish to be … and why?

    And, well, what possible moral obligation could the conservative have toward such people, and on what basis?

  62. davisbr Says:

    rickl: And I do so like my “treated ‘water'”!

  63. blert Says:


    The missing logical link is YOGURT.

    It’s still loaded with enough lactose to trigger the ‘runs’ if you’re intolerant.

    It’s idiot simple to make — even by accident.

    And, it’s the natural culture to develop resistance to pathogens — in the same manner that a weakened virus pre-alerts our immune system.

    THAT’S why milk culture — changed Western culture.


    The ancient Hebrews were hip to the pathogen connection — coming up with Kosher law. In this way, they were passed over for many pathogens — and never picked up lactose tolerance as a consequence.


    In one of history’s bitter ironies, Jews that survived the Black Death — because of their fastidious urban habits — became blame victims BECAUSE they were under-afflicted.

    Paranoid Gentiles / atheists are recorded as having attacked and even murdered Jews in the 14th Century on the supposition that the pandemic was a Jewish plot.

    This fantasy that European Jews have hidden powers/ operate a conspiracy is a recurrent theme in Western culture.

    Just keeping a Kosher home became a social liability during plagues — of which Europe had no end of.

    We see weird variations on this theme with Hugo Chavez telling some that his cancer was inflicted upon him by the evil Americans…

    Or that America invented AIDS to make Africans suffer….

    This is when mental health and body health fuse across the medical divide. Professionals have to keep the popular mind right while treating the epidemic.

    This cross-problem deserves professional inquiry.


  64. davisbr Says:

    blert: Actually, one reason I have always kept yoghurt (and kefir) in my diet is because a long, long time ago (decades! …and way before the Internet …and I’m pretty sure it was before PC’s, so pre-80’s), I dimly recall reading a report that reported that acidopholus was the only bacteria inhabiting the guts in those who regularly ate yoghurt. And coincidentally lived longer lives than usual.

    (It was probably some Rodale Press propaganda …I had an organic garden way before it became fashionable, and I read a lot of Rodale Press stuff; I was taught to garden by very frugal grandparents, who wer subscribers …and that bit may have been coupled to some National Geographic article … on long-lived Georgians? Whatever: it was so long ago I have only the memory of a memory.)

    At any rate, it was enough incentive for me to learn to love the stuff.

    At first, I could only find yoghurt in health food stores. A bit later in time, I actually learned to culture my own (yeah: I made yoghurt lol …I also had a sourdough starter that was probably 20 years old before I killed it), because it was kind of expensive.

    This was way before the fruit-filled yoghurt cups (or about the same time) became widely available btw (I grew up in a small agricultural community in the Sacramento Valley, and spent even more years in an equal small seaside town on the north coast of California).

    I went through a quart or so daily back then. I would eat it raw, over granola. In a “shake” form (with lots of stuff in it). Or plain with a teaspoon of honey, a dash of lecithin, and a 1/4 cup or so of wheat germ (which gave it a nutty flavor) mixed in.

    …way back when, in my long-haired hippy-dippy days. When there were real hippys lol.

    …gawd but I was such a tool lol.

  65. Raincityjazz Says:

    Seems obvious that without milk there are few ways to get the daily minimum dosages of cookies down the hatch. There is no doubt that the decline of western civilization is related to this catastrophic disability.

    Here in Scandihoovian Seattle, we are awash in milk and need not worry about such trivialities as lactose intolerance. Unfortunately, leftist drivel and pretentious coffee perversions are also integral to the ethnic mix. At least that gives us plenty to obsess about during the interminable rainy months (August 21st to July 17th.)

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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