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In This Issue

  • How to Enjoy Dairy When You're Lactose Intolerant
  • Probiotics in Babies Predict Obesity
  • 7 Steps to Weight Loss
  • Did You Know???


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How to Enjoy Dairy When You're Lactose Intolerant

People who suffer with lactose intolerance, i.e. the inability to fully digest the sugar found in milk and other dairy products, may experience cramping, diarrhea, nausea, gas and/or bloating 30 minutes to two hours after consuming dairy. Some lactose intolerant people find that they can enjoy a small amount diet.

What causes Lactose intolerance? It's due to insufficient production of the lactose enzyme in the small intestine. This enzyme breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose, a pair of easier-to-digest sugars. The amount of lactase we produce can be determined by our genes, but because our small intestines produce lactase in the greatest quantities when we're young, the onset of lactose intolerance only occur in adolescence or adulthood.

Jean Gazzaniga-Moloo RD PhD registered dietician in Sacramento, CA makes some practical suggestions:

  • Take lactase supplements immediately before consuming dairy.
  • Drink reduced-lactose milk.
  • Consume dairy products in small amounts throughout the day, rather than in one large serving. Lactose-intolerant digestive systems will have an easier time processing several two-to-four-ounce glasses of milk drunk hours apart than one big glass in a sitting.
  • Consume dairy products together with or following non-dairy foods. Eating dairy on an empty stomach is particularly likely to cause discomfort.
  • Select dairy products that are naturally low in lactose. Milk and ice cream contain lots of lactose...but sour cream and cottage cheese have significantly less...and hard cheeses, such as cheddar and Swiss, contain still less. Goat's milk and goat cheeses contain nearly as much lactose as cow's milk and cheese.
  • Eat yogurt that contains active cultures. If the words "active cultures" or "live cultures" appear on a yogurt container, live bacteria are among the ingredients. These helpful bacteria break down much of the lactose in the yogurt, making it easier to digest. Some buttermilk also contains these bacteria- check the label.
  • Look for hidden lactose. Lactose sometimes is present in foods where it might not be expected, such as bread and other baked goods...salad dressing...instant potato mix...pancake mix...most lunch meats...and even some "non-dairy" creamers. Check the ingredients lists and look for dry milk solid, milk by-products, dry milk powder, curds, whey, milk, cheese or butter. Look for products with the words "lactose-free" on the label.

Probiotics in Babies Predict Obesity

According to a team of researchers from the University of Turku in Finland the mix of bacteria in a baby's gut may predict whether that infant will become overweight or obese later in life. The study suggests that babies with high numbers of bifidobacteria and low numbers of Staphylococcus aureus may be protected from excess weight gain.

The researchers evaluated children who had been part of a long-term study to evaluate the effect of probiotics on allergic disease. The children had been evaluated at birth, five more times before age 2, and then again at ages 4 and 7. The researchers in the original study had also tested for intestinal microbes in fecal samples collected at 6 months and 12 months.

The Finnish researchers selected 49 participants from the larger study -- 25 of them were overweight or obese at age 7 years, and 24 were normal weight at the same age.

When they looked at the fecal samples, the average bacterial counts of bifidobacteria when taken at 6 months and 12 months were twice as high in those who were a healthy weight as in those who got heavy.

Those who stayed at a healthy weight also had lower fecal Staph aureus levels at 6 months and 12 months than did those who got heavy. The authors speculate that Staph. aureus may trigger low-grade inflammation, and that may also contribute to developing obesity. The researchers suggest that their findings may help explain why breast-fed babies are at lower risk for later obesity, since bifidobacteria are prevalent in the guts of breast-fed babies.

7 Steps to Weight Loss

Michael O'Shea from Parade Magazine, San Diego, has some excellent suggestions:

  1. Buy a Scale

  2. To change your body, you need to know where you stand. A recent study by Brown University Medical School showed that daily weigh-ins are key. Place your scale on a flat, uncarpeted surface and weigh yourself at the same time every day. (First thing in the morning is best.) Use the number as a way to track your progress. A realistic goal is a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week.

  3. Clean Out Your Cupboard

  4. Toss all those naughty little goodies that might prove too tempting when you're tires or hungry. Or put them at the back of the cupboard or refrigerator so you won't be faced with them every time you open the door. And divide large bags of snacks into single-portion baggies or buy prepackaged 100-calorie options.

  5. Keep a Journal

  6. Write down your weight each day, plus everything you eat. You're the only one who has to see this- so be honest. Estimate the calorie of each entry as you write it down. (Buy a book of calorie counts or use our tools at

  7. Tell Everyone

  8. Sit your family down and tell them your goals. Be clear that losing weight is important to you and that you would appreciate their support. A weight-loss buddy also can improve your chances of success. If you don't know anyone who fits the bill, consider joining an online support group.

  9. Eat Several Small Meals a Day

  10. It's natural to be a little hungry during the first few days of any diet. Remind yourself that it is just a physical sensation, and you can handle it. Still, any diet that leaves you hungry all the time will lead to overeating. Many people find that having five or six small meals a day works best for them.

  11. Give Yourself Treats

  12. If you deprive yourself, you'll end up going on a world-class binge at some point. Consider adding a treat to your daily or weekly plan, but pay attention to portion size and cup of low-fat ice cream or three pieces of chocolate can work as long as you limit yourself to that.

  13. Start an Exercise Plan

  14. Besides burning calories, exercise also builds muscle and boosts your metabolism as you progress. One of the best things you can do is walk!

Did You Know???

  • Beware of trans fat replacement
    K.C. Hayes, DVM, PhD, professor of Biology, Brandeis University, MA says that the so-called interesterified fat which is formed by chemically incorporating a saturated fatty acid into a vegetable oil to harden it, is now being used in some foods to replace trans fat. New study: When 30 healthy volunteers ate a diet containing 30% of calories from interesterified fat for four weeks, their HDL "good" cholesterol declined while their blood sugar rose by 20%. So, avoid foods that list "interesterified" fat as an ingredient.
  • Stress raises cholesterol
    A study conducted by Andrew Steptoe, DSc., professor of Psychology, University College London showed that when 199 healthy, middle-aged men and women performed moderately stressful tasks - such as quickly identifying mislabeled colors on a computer screen - their cholesterol levels rose. Three years later, study participants who had reacted most strongly to the tasks i.e. with stress and cholesterol spikes - had the largest cholesterol increases. Hayes proposes the theory that fatty acids and glucose are released during stressful situations. This can cause the liver to produce more LDL "bad" cholesterol, which can have long-term health consequences. If you lead a stressful life think about exploring stress-relieving activities, such as aerobic exercise and/or meditation.

In Good Health.
Pamela Nathan

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