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Got Milk Substitutes

Federal Dietary Guidelines recommend two to three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese daily in order to ingest the necessary amount of calcium. Yet the majority of non-white American adults are lactose intolerant:1

  • Asian Americans 95%
  • African Americans 65%
  • American Indians 65%
  • Hispanic Americans 50%
  • Caucasians 15%
  • Entire American pop. 25%
  • World population 75%

All children are born with the enzyme lactase, which allows them to digest milk, but by the age of ten many children of non-European descent no longer produce the enzyme. Health and civil rights groups, spearheaded by the Congressional Black Caucus's Health Brain Trust, have urged that the lactose intolerance of non-white Americans be taken into account when preparing the new dietary guidelines that were issued in 2000. Donna M. Christian-Christensen, head of the Black Caucus's committee, remarked to the New York Times, “These are called ‘Guidelines for Americans,’ so they should reflect all Americans.”

1. Source of statistics: Richard Grand, M.D., Tufts University Medical School.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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