December 25, 2009

Lactose intolerance.

Remember when there was an epidemic of claims of lactose intolerance? It was such that there was a "Seinfeld" bit about it:
Jerry: I have never seen one episode of "I Love Lucy" in my life ever.

Donna: That's amazing.

Jerry: Thank you.

Donna: Is there anything else about you I should know?

Jerry: Yes, I'm lactose intolerant.

Donna: Really?

Jerry: I have no patience for lactose. And I won't stand for it. Uhm, I'll be right back. (Goes to bathroom)
You don't hear about lactose intolerance anymore, for some reason. Or I don't. Maybe you do.

Merry Christmas!

29 comments:

k said...

Now everyone is gluten intolerant.

TerriW said...

I'll echo what k said.

I was recently at a playgroup for children, and the mothers were sitting around talking. The conversation inevitably turned to special diets, because for many modern mothers, it's all about bizarre eating rituals.

One mom said, "Well, we all know that grains are bad," and all the other moms nodded sagely, and I'm thinking, What the hell am I doing here?

t-man said...

Two of my daughter's friends (age 10) are lactose intolerant. They have pills they take before eating ice cream and such.

I'm lachrymose intolerant.

EDH said...

You don't hear about lactose intolerance anymore, for some reason. Or I don't. Maybe you do.

It is now kept safely behind glass in an exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance.

class-factotum said...
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EDH said...

For Christmas this year, in addition to the framed photo of themselves, they sent my husband's brother a box of gourmet cheese and gave us a cast-iron cat.

See Althouse, Elin Nordegren post, infra.

edutcher said...

Several in The Blonde's family (including her) have various problems in that regard. Most can't do lactose in NE OH, but they're fine elsewhere in the country. Never heard of something so specific before I met her, although I went to school with a kid who was very intolerant of milk.

I suspect for many it's more of a fetish, as Terri implies.

WV "fushu" What you say when you want fu to go away.

Matthew said...

Another fad disease, like 'restless leg syndrome' (get up and take a walk!), 'chronic dry eye' (stop wearing contact lenses!), and a few others which require the 'victim' to spend an exhorbitant amount of money on a drug or food suppliment of dubious value.

One which usually has side-effects of such a severe nature that they require another drug of dubious value, which in turn, has it's own severe side-effect...which requires another expensive drug.

If one needs to 'reform' health care, you could start right there; the often-ridiculous drugs developed to treat a very mild or insignifigant malady,that then winds up costing enough money to put a down-payment on a condo. How many times have you heard the voice-over that runs:

"...'Taking X may result in halitosis, chronic liver disease, explosive diarrhea, implosivve diarrhea, scabies, cholera, Athlete's scalp, and a small risk of a rare-but-often-fatal earlobe degeneration. Do not take X with water, air, Corn Flakes or lighter fluid. Avoid exposure to air, raindrops, snowflakes and Katie Couric. Do not sit, stand, breathe, blink or fart for more than 16,8 seconds while taking X..."

Next thing you know, your relatively-minor complaint now has you taking six drugs to 'fix' that small problem...and to mask the side effects the original 'medicine' created... and leaves you with a $400-a-month prescription drug bill. WHich somehow Medicare is supposed to pay for.

I blame Baby Boomers; they all want to enjoy eternal youth (measured strictly in orgasms, hence half-a-dozen well-preserved aging hippies sitting aorund with guitars singing the praises of Viagara, and all the Genital Herpes commercials. The Me Generation made Herpes a household word, after all), free of all physical complaint, no matter how miniscule or ridiculous.

And PETA doesn't escape without a finger-wag, either, what with their assertion that milk is either child abuse or theft from an innocent cow held in the bonds of evil slavery.

It's all marketing,anyways.

JohnAnnArbor said...

And PETA doesn't escape without a finger-wag, either, what with their assertion that milk is either child abuse or theft from an innocent cow held in the bonds of evil slavery.

It's a lot worse than that. PETA is against all medical testing on animals. Given that all medications and procedures are tested on animals first, they should go through life with very little health care. Or volunteer for experimental surgeries and drugs.

Fred4Pres said...

Jerry Seinfeld never saw an episode of I Love Lucy? WTF? I hope that was just a stupid joke. For a comedian that is the equivalent of an English or Theater Professor saying he never sat through a Shakespeare play.

Then again, I have never sat through an episode of Friends. But that is different.

Methadras said...

Yeah, restless leg syndrome. What a crock. Yes, we have a pill for that too.

corsair the rational pirate said...

Leonard Hofstadter, PhD, on the Big Band Theory (best comedy on the televideo machine) is lactose intolerant. Only character I know currently working with such an impediment.

traditionalguy said...

The wife prefers Lactose free products. I eat whatever doesn't eat me first. However a large helping of ice cream before bed does give me wild dreams.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Methadras said:

Yeah, restless leg syndrome. What a crock.

As someone who suffers from it, I can tell you it is not a crock. It is a miserable feeling that leads to insomnia and its related issues.

On the other hand, I can keep it under control by avoiding even moderate amounts caffeine, and getting regular exercise. I expect the large majority of the people currently taking pills for it could do likewise.

So yes, conditions like that, which could be treated for free with diet and exercise, are what drives our healthcare crisis

gbarto said...

If I have milk, cream, cheese or ice cream, I bloat up for about four hours and am miserable till everything has passed, so to speak. Mine is an unusually bad case, and not helped by colitis.

Some people lose their ability to digest milk as well as they get older. In some cases, they go with pills. In some cases they avoid milk. And, if it's not too severe, they make choices about which things (expensive cheese) are worth feeling a little bloated over and which aren't (milk). Here's the thing: When somebody says, "I'm lactose intolerant," you don't know which category they're in.

I spent a lot of my childhood fending off other children's mothers who had surprised everyone with pizza and ice cream and then thought it shouldn't hurt for me to have a little bit, rather than watching while the other kids dug in. I never understand how it was that having forgotten I was lactose intolerant before they picked out the treat would be made better by making me sick afterward.

So, if someone says, "I'm lactose intolerant, pass the cheese," feel free to roll your eyes. But if a little kid turns down pizza, or an adult fends off an offer of something else yummy, take it as read that they're among that smaller group for whom milk is painful, not just inconvenient. Don't try to force it on them just because you don't believe in lactose intolerance.

traditionalguy said...

We serve two egg nogs one of which is lactose free. They taste almost the same.

27183 said...

Even at the height of the lactose intolerance "fad", physicians and others said it was wildly over (self-)diagnosed -- often because lactose free milk has way better profit margins.

You may not hear of it as much anymore, not because it has gone away, but because we all know about it, and there are many more and better alternatives.

I used to love milk, but "it gives me the wind something fierce" at night. So now I drink rice milk (but not soy milk as I have no need for moobs.)

Kurt said...

I've got a minor case of lactose intolerance, which developed when I was in my thirties. Milk causes the most trouble ("bloating" as gbarto describes and "wind" to use 27183's term), as does ice cream. Lactaid helps, but doesn't eliminate all of the problems, so mostly I just avoid them. I can usually tolerate cheese or yogurt--where the milk, after all, has been partially decomposed by bacteria--but mostly avoid them, or take lactaid when I have them. My larger problem with dairy products is that the casein causes a lot of congestion. (This always reminds me of another Seinfeld episode-where he goes to the holistic healer who tells him he is eating too much dairy.)

Alcibiades said...

Milk has lactose in it - hence people who are lactose intolerant ought not to drink it unless they don't mind having symptoms. And what does lactose intolerant mean? Having an inability to digest the lactose sugar.

Hard cheeses, however, aged over 30 days are fine because in the process of being turned into cheese the lactose is consumed by the bacteria used by the particular cheese culture. Yes, the bacteria feed themselves by consuming the lactose - which is a sugar. That's what sustains them.


As for the implication in Ann's piece that lactose intolerance doesn't exist anymore because she doesn't hear about it - it reminds me of a memorable line of logic I read once on Andrew Sullivan's blog - years back, when it was still readable.

He purported that writer's block didn't exist because it had never happened to him.

Should have realized then.

BigFire said...

It's not a phantom fad disease for those of us that's Asian descendant. I like drinking milk. I just drink 'em with Lactaid.

Michael said...

Our older daughter was lactose intolerant and went undiagnosed until we switched pediatricians. She would spit up acid in the night, which nearly wrecked her teeth. She would claim to be sick but showed not symptoms and it seemed she just didn't want to go to school. Once we discovered the problem, life was good again. I am as leery of fad diseases as anyone, but this can be quite real.

class-factotum said...
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Donna B. said...

For the few people who really do suffer from gluten or lactose intolerance, the pretenders and faddish are a pain in the neck.

Except... the fad has made gluten free foods more available.

wv heasions. What I get from food faddists.

Carl Johnson said...

I'm lack remorse intolerant, which is why I can't stand OJ Simpson.

gbarto said...

class-factotum,
That's why I said you could roll your eyes at them.

Matthew said...

"On the other hand, I can keep it under control by avoiding even moderate amounts caffeine, and getting regular exercise. I expect the large majority of the people currently taking pills for it could do likewise."

Did you ever notice there was no such thing as Restless Leg Syndrome before people spent 50 hours a week sitting in front of a computer and started paying $6, four times daily, for a 55-gallon drum of pretentious coffee with enough cream and caramel in it to clog a toilet?

But, nooooo...it's a SYNDROME that causes an issue; a *disease* that requires a pahramaceutical company to dump billions into R&D and heavy advertising, and which requires the 'victim' to seek often-expensive medical treatment -- to fix the ravages of a poor lifestyle choice.

The elevation of everything to the level of a disease or syndrome, when it's simply a matter of personal responsibility, is going to cost us all plenty if the dimwits ever pass "Health Care Reform Legislation" (three lies for the price of one).

Don't be surprised when fingernail biting, dandruff and foot odor rise to the level of 'syndrome' and Big Pharma makes expensive drugs to treat those questionable maladies, too... and the government decides to make them available under an expanded Medicare drug benefit.

Does no one take responsibility for themselves, or ever learn to live with the odd simply-annoying-but-not-life-threatening condition anymore?

Carl Johnson said...

That Restless Leg Syndrome thing is interesting.

It's a medical problem, is it? And the leg just keeps moving, despite the owner's best effort to stop it from doing so?

I'll bet that ol' Tiger Woods had hisself a bad case of Restless Penis Syndrome. He couldn't help it. It is beyond his control A medical problem.

Just me said...

Growing up in rural Minnesota everything was milk, cheese and heavenly. Unfortunately, for the last ten years, I've suffered from lactose intolerance and it's awful. I miss drinking milk with pizza (an extremely delicious delight), cheese curds and vanilla ice cream with pumpkin pie.

Helen said...

Matthew commented:

"Did you ever notice there was no such thing as Restless Leg Syndrome before people spent 50 hours a week sitting in front of a computer and started paying $6, four times daily, for a 55-gallon drum of pretentious coffee with enough cream and caramel in it to clog a toilet?"

I went to graduate school forty years ago and encountered it in the pathology textbook back then.