Nutrition Policy

Apart from the nutritional implications outlined previously, there are policy considerations that require attention. Clearly, milk has important economic, nutritional, and emotional significance in Western culture, a culture strongly committed to the concept that milk is an ideal food. However, lactose digestion should be an important consideration in developing a suitable policy regarding the use of milk and dairy products by the lactose malabsorber and by ethnic or racial groups, among whom high rates of malabsorption prevail. Accordingly, a balance must be struck between dietary guidance and the interests of a diverse population with a large number of lactose maldigesters. For many, the continued use of a limited amount of milk may be appropriate and comfortable. For others, dietary modification and lactose reduction or elimination may be warranted. The substitution of low-lactose products or alternative foods may be nutritionally beneficial. The successful introduction of a lactose-reduced milk, Lact-Aid, into the US market in the 1970s by Alan Kligerman is one important example of a well-accepted milk product alternative. Traditional diets among lactose-maldigesting populations, using little or no milk or dairy products, should be respected.

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