Health advocates are celebrating a major victory as the US Dietary Guidelines have acknowledged lactose intolerance as a serious health issue.
Campaigners including plant-based physician Dr. Milton Mills and health organization Switch4Good worked towards the victory.
US Dietary Guidelines Committee
They have both presented information to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee about the health risks of dairy.
The Committee, which is comprised of nationally recognized nutrition and medical researchers, academics, and practitioners, updates the dietary guidelines every five years.
It invites experts to speak and share current scientific and medical evidence in nutrition.
Dairy and people of color
One of the key points made by advocates was how dairy disproportionately affects people of color. Speaking to the committee, Dr. Mills said: “The vast majority of people of color in this country are intolerant to the lactose that’s in milk.
“Yet because they think they have to eat this stuff, they go out, eat it, get sick, and think they have some sort of intestinal problem. When I encourage them to stop eating dairy, their problems clear up.
“It’s really outrageous to encourage people to eat foods we know will make them sick, particularly when the number one reason advanced for dairy foods is its calcium content. But African American women are genetically protected against getting osteoporosis. So we’re making them sick for no good reason.”
Describing the victory, Switch4Good – whose executive director is Olympic silver medalist Dotsie Bausch – said: “Together, we compelled the US Dietary Guidelines to acknowledge lactose intolerance as a serious issue and add soy milk as an option for the millions of Americans who are sickened by dairy (over one-third of us!).
“The new 2020-2025 guidelines state that soy milk is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk (for the first time ever!). Compared to the former guidelines that barely alluded to anything but dairy, the inclusion of soy is HUGE.
“As the guidelines underwent revision in 2020, you helped us launch a tidal wave of public comments to remove dairy as a food group. While we may not have claimed this victory (yet), seeing dairy alternatives front and center is something to be celebrated.”
Continue the fight
The organization added that it will continue to fight against the ‘dairy industry’s grasp on our government’.
It will campaign for dairy alternatives in all public schools, comprehensive explanation of lactose intolerance including the symptoms and who is most at risk, and the complete removal of dairy as a food group.
In addition, Switch4Good is currently running a 14-day Dairy Detox pledge.
It says: “Some may notice changes immediately, whereas others may take a week or two to really feel fantastic. Our bodies are different, but there is one thing they can agree on: dairy does not do a body good.
“Commit to the Dairy Detox and treat your body with compassion. When you sign up, you’ll receive exclusive tips, recipes, and constant motivation to stay on track.”