Kids digest the darnedest things. While young children can usually digest dairy ’til the cows come home, are lactose intolerant. adults lose the ability to digest lactose when they stop eating as much dairy, and gradual reintroduction to dairy can help solve the problem.

I Scream, You Scream — Why It Matters

We all scream… if we’re lactose intolerant. Those with the condition (yeah, lactard sounds catchier, but it isn’t the nicest nickname) don’t have enough , which is needed to digest lactose, or milk sugar . Rings, E.H, Grand, R.J, Büller, H.A. Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 1994 Oct;6(5):562-7.. Lactose intolerance or as the result of a disease like gastroenteritis. , people are born without the lactase enzyme and are lactose intolerant for life. And lactose intolerant folks can be a real party to sit next to at the pizza place, with diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramping, gas, and bloating. can consume more dairy than others before their stomach stages a mutiny. Eight to 12 ounces of milk won’t cause a problem for most kids and teens with primary lactose intolerance.

No wonder we think kids’ stuff is too cheesy. Lactose intolerance is more common among adults, and studies suggest people are more likely to have lactose troubles as they age Ting, C.W, Hwang, B., Wu, T.C. Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, National Yang-Ming Medical College, Taipei, Taiwan. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 1988 Nov-Dec;7(6):848-51.. have the enzymes necessary to break down lactose into digestible lactase. (Lucky for them, since isn’t exactly the way to grow up strong.) But kids start producing less lactase when they’re as young as two years old. Studies have found more than 25 percent of children over age five are lactose intolerant Hutyra, T., Iwańczak, B. Akademia Medyczna we Wrocławiu, II Katedra i Klinikia Pediatrii, Gastroenterologii i Zywienia. Pol Merkur Lekarski, 2008 Oct;25(148):340-4.. Some researchers think people have more dairy troubles as they age because their diets include — but some scientists look to history for an explanation.

Milk the System — The Answer/Debate

Humans weren’t always wired to rely on nutrition from dairy products— lactose tolerance may be a . (Thought Darwin grew his Santa beard without dairy?) The lactase gene usually switches off once a baby’s weaned off dairy. But people living in certain regions evolved to keep the gene switched on, since dairy was an important part of their diet Thomas, S., Walker-Smith, J.A., Senewiratne, B. et al. Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Institute of Child Health/Hospitals for Sick Children, London, UK. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 1990 Apr;36(2):80-5.. Scientists suggest some ethnic groups are , possibly because their ancestors had . (No milkshakes in the ancient world, it turns out.) According to , 90 percent of Asian Americans and 75 percent of Native Americans and African Americans are lactose intolerant.

For anyone with dairy troubles, it might just take some (milk) to break some! Some scientists believe avoiding lactose products . Researchers suggest a diet with products can help the body adapt and train it to break down lactose. Start with small amounts of milk on a full stomach, natural cheeses, or yogurt. If that doesn’t work, might as well just .

Did you have problems with lactose when you were a kid? How about now? Tell us in the comments below!