VSver the last few years, we have gone from a simple distrust of milk due to lactose intolerance and casein allergies, to a real obsession with not consuming the product itself. However, lactose allergies are less common than is generally believed.
I have personally heard colleagues confide that, during office consultations, patients (some of whom suffer from diseases that are difficult to treat such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or who present functional symptoms such as fatigue, skin allergies) claim that the milk withdrawal had been theirs recommended by doctors.
Anti-lactose: a belief?
Without realizing that the latter, often homeopaths Where naturopaths, undoubtedly peddled their own rejection of all that is “in the norm”, even responding to the desire of patients to obtain answers other than those resulting from traditional medicine. And utter advice at the edge of the magic…who were playing with fire. And their health!
Some anti-milk attitudesas we can see, are undeniably similar to a belief, insofar as they concern an eminently symbolic food, and sometimes drift towards real sectarian behaviorinsofar as they encourage a complete change in lifestyle likely to endanger the socialization of the individual as well as his health.
By aggregating each individual case to a group, that of consumers without milk in the broad sense, this trend gradually cuts everyone off from the rest of the population. Again, the risk is not negligible.
But this fear, in my eyes, is one of the symptoms of the difficulties some people have in living in today’s world.
Tossed around, no longer able to sort out the true from the false in the conflicting information which the media fill us with, questioning the slightest information deemed scientific on the pretext that it is “official” and therefore not valid, giving more credit to what is peddled on the net than to the basics of nutrition, these people in come to take refuge in quasi-magical beliefs. Then become the first peddlers.
A human attitude (I do not condemn it, I note, and for me some are victims and not responsible) reflecting a deep anguish certainly, but having the serious disadvantage of advancing that the only valid therapy is toexclude Milk and all its food derivatives.
Allergy: myth or reality
“And allergies then, what do you do with them? “, will squeal some. I’m coming.
And first I’m going to attack another received idea: milk allergy is less common than we think. As Jean-Marie Bourre reminds us in his book Milk, real and false dangerspublished by Odile Jacob, there are many more sucrose reactionsi.e. the lump sugar consumed every day, than lactose allergy !
Then, to understand what it is, let’s be an educator. I use the word here “allergy”often confused with the term “intolerance”. Food allergy is the set of reactions that involve immunological mechanisms.
intolerance food means toxic reactions, metabolic Where pharmacologicalin which no role is devoted to the immune system.
Sometimes the mechanisms of allergies and intolerances can be associates ; and these have nothing to do with food aversion (which is a matter of perception and taste, aimed at eliminating the food from the diet) or thefood exclusion itself, a deliberate and personal choice to exclude a family of foods. Words have a meaning, so let’s respect it.
The food allergies are on the riser in the world. To simplify, it is the ingestion of a food which, upon contact with the intestine, will lead to a series of inflammatory mechanisms involving the immune system.
This allergy can create all kinds of symptoms. From the most serious, that is to say the anaphylactic shockparticularly common when ingesting peanutsof the shellfish or fishuntilurticariawhich can occur after ingestion of any food.
Asthma and rhinitis are also symptoms, but they rarely occur in isolation. Finally, there are controversial symptoms of food allergies, such as chronic fatiguethem migraine or certain joint inflammations.
Food exclusion, a false solution
What can we conclude from these known data? That if the diversity, the complexity of these mechanisms makefood exclusion a practical response to the problem of milk allergy in some people, the variety of reactions observed is difficult to link to the offending product itself.
Now, it is from this vagueness, from these doubts that the milk detractors – in particular, but also those of other products. Thus a consumer can be allergic or intolerant to another substance, but, convinced that the milk is the cause of his illness, eliminate the latter and better support the pain.
From then on, he will firmly believe that he has found the origin of his illness, will say so here, there, elsewhere, to his friends, on forums with the strength of the experience he has lived… without being right for all that. And some modern nutrition legends grow, spread, until they become unsubstantiated truths.
Is there no milk allergy, then? Yes, of course. A protein allergy casein of milk, which is characterized by symptoms that are both clear and suggestive, which can be confirmed by tests. We have in fact the means, today, to demonstrate by simple biological analyzes many allergies, including this one.
Either, but you should know that, statistically, cow’s milk is not among the ten most potent food allergens and that before it we find fish, certain additives, peanuts, latex…
Do we mean the emergence of a category of people rejecting all fish and professing this attitude with as much vehemence? I do not believe that.
Lactose intolerance means that our body is unable to break down the sugar, lactose, it contains into its smallest constituents. The consequence is that this lactose then arrives in the colon without having been degradedwill be fermented and will then behave like a fiber.
It is this fermentation which can sometimes become source of bloating or digestive embarrassment. No other manifestation can be attributed to lactose intolerance, except to demonstrate in the future that this fermentation elicits a certain number of reactions capable of defining particular symptoms.
People who suffer from lactose intolerance are affected by most mammalian milks, because they all contain lactose, including dairy products. In contrast, cheeses have very little since at the time of draining a large part has been eliminated, the rest disappearing thanks to the consumption of bacteriaof which it is the main food.
Lactose intolerance: disparities between populations
Other interesting things to note, certain populations are more affected than others by lactose intolerance – this is the case for those of South. Furthermore, theage coming, we lose our ability to digest it.
So an intolerance can appear in childhood, but be cured before the age of three; or occur after fifty years, when the enzyme to break down lactose disappears. The allergy to caseinon the other hand, is a problem most important.
It implements real allergic protection mechanisms, that is, inflammation that can trigger different symptoms. Casein desensitization is possible, but the success of the exercise is not guaranteed.
This real allergy manifests itself not only with the ingestion of dairy products, but also with the cheesewhich contains a lot of casein.
So yes, there are milk allergies. But much less frequent or obvious than some claim or peddle.
Also, under the (real) pretext of a few proven examples, to deny any virtue to milk and its derivatives to the point of wanting tocompletely exclude from their diet seems to me at least exaggerated and even risky. Especially since it has other significant assets.