Can people who are lactose intolerant drink raw milk?
If someone were lactose intolerant, could they consume raw milk as though it were lactose free?
A: I know a lot of people out there have been diagnosed as being lactose intolerant, but in most cases, it's a misdiagnosis.
People say they're "lactose intolerant" because that's what they've been told by their doctors. And it's true enough that when these unfortunate people drink milk or eat dairy products found in their grocery store, they can't get to the bathroom fast enough.
But the natural form of lactose that's found in real milk (i.e. raw milk) isn't the problem. Raw milk contains an enzyme called lactase that helps your body break down and absorb the lactose. When milk is pasteurized and homogenized, though, lactase is just one of many enzymes that is killed off in the process.
That's why most people who are lactose intolerant find that they can drink raw milk without any of the uncomfortable side effects that they typically experience when they eat or drink dairy. Raw milk still contains the lactase that helps your body properly process lactose.
Unfortunately, I don't know of any good studies that have been done on this. The best one I've found is a survey conducted by researchers in Michigan. It's not ideal, but it's still pretty eye opening. The Michigan researchers surveyed 155 people who had been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, 82 percent of them said didn't experience any symptoms when they drank raw milk.
When you understand the science behind lactose, it's not hard to figure out why.
Whether you're lactose intolerant or not, forget the junk milk that's sold in your grocery store and look for a source of raw milk. Go to www.realmilk.com, and click on "Where" to look through a state-by-state list of raw milk sources.