Posted in Kafevend Blog
Following on from our blog earlier this week about milk, today we are going to find out how those with a dairy intolerance still have options to enjoy milk in their tea, coffee and cocoa! First up is a little bit on the science behind it all- don't worry, it's quite easy to understand.
All milk and dairy related products contain something called lactose- you've probably heard of it before, but might not know what it does. Lactose is a sugar, giving milk its sweet taste and provides energy once consumed. Once inside your body, it is broken down into two simpler sugars- glucose and galactose- by something called lactase which your body produces itself. The sugars are then absorbed through the wall of your intestines away to other parts of your body. Most mammals only produce lactase when they are young and being fed by their mothers- once they move on to other sources of food, the body no longer needs to make it. When lactase is no longer being produced, lactose will no longer be broken down and absorbed, and makes its way to the colon where it basically ferments. This is how it gives you grief through issues such as wind and stomach cramps.
Some humans continue to produce lactase throughout their lives, a scenario known as lactase persistence. Globally, those people are the minority, mainly found in areas where dairy consumption continues after weaning- which makes sense. This evolutionary trait is relatively new, and mainly found in Europeans (around 80% of them) and those of European ancestry. On the other hand, sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia have very low levels of lactase persistence. Whilst this trait is genetically predetermined for most folk, it is also possible for certain diseases to eliminate lactase persistence.
Whilst this is all quite interesting, how is it meant to help you enjoy your favourite drinks, you might well ask? Thankfully, because we understand it is the lactose which causes all the bother, we can work around it. If you still want to enjoy dairy, it is possible to use lactase supplements- but this would stop you from trying a variety of other milks which contain no lactose whatsoever!
Foods like rice, soy, almonds and hazelnuts can all be used to make milk, and come in a number of variations such as sweetened or unsweetened, organic, vanilla, chocolate and so on. Along with the fact that anyone with lactose intolerance can drink these until the cows come home, they possess their own unique flavours which can pair up with other drinks rather nicely. When it comes to coffee, almond or especially hazelnut milk are a great addition. Their nuttiness works well together with the earthy and sometimes nutty flavours you can find in coffee, and can be sweet enough to do away with the need to add any sugar. So, whether you're pining after milk or just looking to experiment, we thoroughly recommend giving these options a try!