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Allergic to milk? Blame your mind

Aversion to milk products may have no real basis and may just exist only in the mind.

health-and-fitness Updated: May 11, 2011 01:18 IST

Aversion to milk products may have no real basis and may just exist only in the mind. The discovery has an important bearing on health because many who believe they are lactose intolerant leave out dairy products from their diet. This leave them short of calcium, raising the risk of brittle bones.

The study is the latest to question whether the millions of people who claim to have food intolerance are actually fussy eaters, the Daily Mail reports. Previous research concluded that nine in 10 Britons who believed they had a food intolerance were actually perfectly healthy. 20% of men and women — some 10 million British adults — say they are unable to eat food items such as milk, mustard etc, but fewer than 2% actually have a problem.

Guido Basilico, of the University of Milan, tested more than 100 people who believed they were lactose intolerant, to see if they really did have problems breaking down the sugar and absorbing it into their blood. He also asked them about their mental and physical health, including whether they were depressed or anxious or suffered from general aches. This revealed their stomach troubles had little to do with digestion of lactose and more to do with their mental state.

These findings were presented at the Digestive Disease Week conference in the US on Sunday.

ht epaper

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