Milking the lactose debate for all it’s worth

By Ted Blankenship | February 1, 2022

By Ted Blankenship

A television commercial for lactose-free milk states that if it isn’t real milk, then the cow conveniently standing nearby isn’t a real cow — “and Mabel doesn’t really like that.” 

Mabel the cow answers with a brief “moo.” 

When we lived on 20 acres north of Rose Hill, we had cows and I don’t recall any of them saying “moo.”

When they hear humans say this, they’re probably thinking, “and they say a cow jumped over the moon, too.”

Anyway, all of this got me to thinking about what’s so bad about lactose that some people want to buy dairy products without it. Well, it’s essentially the sugar. Milk apparently has lots of it, and that doesn’t agree with some folks. 

But where does that leave the cows? They don’t have much to sell but milk. They sure aren’t going to promote beef consumption. And, they’ve no doubt noticed the trend of adding and subtracting things from food to make it more salable. 

The bread people are champs at this. Check out the average loaf and you’ll see that added ingredients can include sugar, soybean oil, wheat gluten, salt, soy lecithin, grain vinegar, citric acid, soy and whey. 

But let’s give the cows some credit for integrity. I don’t think most of them would allow these kinds of ingredients in their milk. 

There was a time when lactose wasn’t seen as much of a problem, but milk products still had marketing problems. Take Little Miss Muffett. You’ll recall that she sat on a tuffet eating curds and whey, certainly dairy products. You’ll remember, too, that a spider sat down beside her and frightened her away. 

Poor Miss Muffett had to find another tuffet, usually defined as a small clump of grass, which probably was infested with chiggers. Thus Miss Muffet had a bad day all around.  

I need to point out that lactose intolerance is a real problem and some people need to avoid milk products that contain it.

So what can the cows do? I believe they’ll just keep churning out (maybe an unfortunate choice of words) plain ol’ milk with lactose in it and leave it up to the marketers to remove it. 

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