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Cow's milk

Even lactose-intolerant children should keep drinking milk, insists American Academy of Pediatrics

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: cow's milk, children's health, American Academy of Pediatrics

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(NewsTarget) The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published an article in the journal Pediatrics in which it recommends that even lactose intolerant children consume dairy products, despite digestion problems.

The AAP says that children benefit from the calcium, vitamin D and probiotics found in dairy products such as milk and aged cheeses, even though lactose intolerant children can suffer from diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, flatulence and bloating after eating dairy.

"It's ridiculous advice," counters Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and holistic nutritionist. "Milk and dairy products are not essential sources of nutrition," he says. "All nutrients necessary for good health -- including calcium -- can be readily found in non-dairy sources."

"To suggest that children should continue to consume baby cow liquids that cause pain, diarrhea and flatulence is extremely irresponsible," Adams says, "and it makes me wonder whether the AAP is taking money from the dairy industry."

People with lactose intolerance either partly or entirely lack the enzyme lactase in their small intestine. Lactase is necessary for digesting lactose -- the carbohydrate found in mammals' milk -- and lack of the enzyme causes the intestine to sometimes draw in excess water to help with digestion, which can lead to diarrhea. Certain intestinal bacteria also help digest dairy products when lactase is missing, which can lead to waste products of carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen, resulting in flatulence.

The AAP cites bone health and essential nutrient intake as reasons for lactose intolerant children to consume dairy products, but critics of the dairy industry disagree. Calcium and vitamin D found in milk products can be easily replaced by non-dairy substitutes, they say.

Exposure of the skin to natural sunlight is the best way to get adequate levels of vitamin D into the body, and the calcium found in dairy products is also found in high amounts in kelp, kale, almonds, Brazil nuts, tofu and seeds.


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