Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm Very Lucky -- I Really Enjoy Ice Cream

While this is probably not a "culinary" topic, it is about a food that I hold near and dear to my heart. As an adult, I still really enjoy a cold glass of milk, cheese is a staple in my diet, and good ice cream is probably my very favorite dessert. Anyway, I was perusing usatoday.com earlier today and an article by Elizabeth Weise titled "Sixty Percent of Adults Can't Digest Milk" caught my attention. Anyway, according to this article, in "normal" humans, the enzyme (lactase) that digests the main sugar (lactose) found in milk stops being produced somewhere between the age of two and five years old. Almost no (0%) adult Native Americans, only 5% of adult Asians, only 25% of African and Caribbean peoples, and only 50% of Mediterranean peoples are lactose tolerant (can digest lactose) after childhood. By contrast, 90% of northern Europeans adults can digest milk. Apparently researchers have investigated why certain groups of people (e.g., people originating from Europe and/or certain areas of Africa) have this genetic mutation. Anyway, as our society treats lactose intolerance as an abnormality, I thought this was very interesting . Above all, I feel blessed to have inherited the genetic gift of "lactase persistence" allowing me to eat and drink my beloved dairy products.

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