Note : Before bashing me, please read till the end.
One of the biggest misconception that we Indians have is that we are tolerant. Nope! we aren’t.
We are an intolerant nation. Lactose intolerant nation.
India is ranked first in production of milk in the world followed by United States, China, and Germany. Production of milk of India was around 140 million tonnes in 2013-14 according to NDDB. Whopping figure, right?
But, sadly, the Indian dairy story isn’t that milky and white after all. Not many people know that majority of Indians are lactose intolerant, which means, they can’t digest milk! On the basis of various research studies conducted around India, the observations suggest that nearly 70-82% of our population is lactose intolerant.
Lactose intolerance, one of the most common food intolerences, is estimated to affect about 1/3rd of the world’s population refers to the condition where a person’s small intestine secretes relatively low amounts of the gut enzymes, “lactase”. This enzyme is produced in the small intestine and it breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose sugars which are easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Oh! But we have been consuming milk for such a long period!
Actually, Indians always used milk to create fermented byproducts like curd, yogurt and cheese etc. where the lactose in the milk is broken down, making it easier for the human body to digest them.
Direct consumption of milk is believed to have been introduced to Indians during the colonial British Raj owing to expansive promotion of tea and coffee like milk based products.
Then why do people who are not able to produce enough lactase gut enzymes in adulthood, believe themselves to be lactose tolerant?
A theory suggests that Non-Europeans face less severe symptoms of lactose intolerance, and thus may fail to notice the consequences of inability to digest as much of dairy.
Europeans have highest percentage of lactose absorption in the whole world. People of African, Asian, African-American have lower frequency of lactose absorption and are most likely to be affected at an earlier age. The absorption capacity goes on decreasing as we grow up. It is least in old age.
This is an intolerance issue faced by a vast tally of Indians on a daily agenda, but no one cares about it. Damn! India is getting Intolerant.
Keep reading more. Keep exploring more.
- http://www.indiamedicaltimes.com/2013/07/10/lactose-intolerance-a-new-finding-in-indian-perspective/ Lactose intolerance: A new finding in Indian perspective
- http://sciencelife.uchospitals.edu/2011/09/14/lactose-tolerance-in-the-indian-dairyland/ Lactose Tolerance in the Indian Dairyland