For some reason, lactose intolerance is often not taken seriously. Perhaps it’s because sixty-five percent (65%) of the total human population has trouble digesting lactose, with a sizable portion of that population reporting only minor symptoms. Many, if not most, continue to eat lactose containing products all the while telling people that they are lactose intolerant. And they probably aren’t lying. Chances are they have mild lactose intolerance and can handle a moderate amount of lactose in their system with little effects. This should not, however, be any reason not to take lactose intolerance seriously.
Some people have severe repercussions when consuming lactose. I can only speak for myself, but I’m sick for seven days after consuming lactose with symptoms including, but not limited to: vomiting, extreme bloating, chest pain, constant nausea, abdominal pain and other digestive issues. I can tell, usually, within a half an hour if I consumed lactose. And I know I’m not alone.
But this post is not about me. It’s about the general misconception that lactose intolerance is not a serious issue. I’ll never forget seeing one episode of the Chew where their celebrity guest happened to be lactose intolerant (mildly, I assume). When the chef went to add extra cheese to the top of the dish, the guest started to say, “No, I’m lactose…”, but too late. The cheese was added. Instead of doing something to bring awareness to something that is a health issue, the guest was invited to taste a portion where the cheese had not appeared to hit. She did, and in all reality the dish itself was probably lactose filled already, but that’s not something I can do. I can’t just eat around the clearly lactose containing product and not be effected. That’s not something a lot of people with allergies or intolerances can do.
As a disclaimer, I am not trying to bash the Chew. In fact, I enjoy watching it when I can. Most viewers probably didn’t even notice that exchange. But it’s something I, and others, live with every day. “Just scrape the butter off” (a response I’ve personally gotten a few times at restaurants when a slab of butter was added to my steak after I made my dietary concerns known) is not an answer. Especially not from people who claim to be food educated. If someone has a dietary concern, it should not be a third party’s prerogative to decide if its serious enough to honor. For any intolerance, allergy, etc.