You Aren't Lactose Intolerant
The statistics are in and unless your heritage is African, Indian or Asian, there’s a good chance you are not lactose intolerant! So why does half the fitness population think that they are lactose intolerant? I’m sure you guys aren’t making this stuff up, I believe you when you say your digestive systems are not functioning as well as they should. However, the blanket approach of blaming lactose (or gluten) on, what I believe to be a very important issue (digestive health is the foundation of your overall health), is not serving us well as a community or individuals.
This article aims to shed a little light on what are some of the causes of poor digestive health and list a few steps we can take to improve this. The next paragraph wades through some boring statistics but I promise you, after that we will look at some solutions to getting our digestive systems functioning as nature intended.
The boring statistics bit…
A massive 76% of Australians are of British ancestry and a further 7% northern European. Both of these ethnic groups only have a lactose intolerance rate of up to 5% and 10% respectively. There doesn’t seem to be any exact statics on lactose tolerances, so I have multiplied ethnic population percentage with the lactose tolerance rates for each ethnicity to come up with a ball park figure. While I haven’t run lactase enzyme tests on all 25 million of us (Australians), the number that comes up is between 14-15% of Australian Adult citizens are ACTUALLY lactose intolerant.
In a recent British study only 10% of all people claiming to be lactose or gluten intolerant actually tested positive to these conditions when lab tests were performed. A substantial portion of the population may be unnecessarily cutting these foods out of their diet when there may be a better way.
The Real Causes:
If we look at the statistics, some people actually are lactose intolerant. If you think you may be then go to your GP and get tested. If the tests come back positive then you can easily modify your diet to avoid dairy, consume products with the Lactase enzyme added or you can use lactase tablets. If the test comes back negative then great, you can enjoy some cheese and crackers while we look for the real cause of your digestive stress.
Cause No. 1: Stress
Most food intolerances are actually an immune response gone wrong from the cells in your digestive tract. You stress, and stress and continue to stress just like most people around you and eventually your immune system thinks it is under attack. It mounts a response to destroy the foreign invaders (usually larger proteins you have consumed) and as a result you experience bloat, gas and possibly a quick run to the toilet. How do I stress less? Society probably encouraged/taught you to be stressed, you are going to have to mindfully undo this learned habit. Meditate, enrol in our upcoming intro to NLP session, just find a way to look at yourself and your circumstances in a more beneficial way. It won’t be easy but it will be the greatest gift you can give to yourself.
Cause No. 2: Poor gut function
If stress is constant or nutrition is inadequate in the first place then your cells in your digestive system may not have all the nutrients they need to perform their respective tasks properly. Food may not be getting absorbed properly or may be taking too long to be processed. This can only be corrected by consistently consuming a well-balanced diet of healthy proteins, complex carbohydrates, fats and a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. It may be as simple as incorporating more fruit and vegetables in your diet, which will keep you regular and foster a diverse range of healthy gut bacteria.
Cause No. 3: Low good bacteria
New research emerges each day on the importance of good bacteria to our digestive health and immune system function. Not only do bacteria play a role in digesting our food, they also interact with our immune system. Stress, alcohol, poor diet, food preservatives and anti-biotics are just some of the things that can interfere with having healthy colonies of gut bacteria. But just adding probiotics back in is not always going to work… Best to address some of these contributing factors first before hoping a few probiotic capsules will magically erase your binge drinking and fast food habits.
As you may have noticed, cause 1, 2 and 3 are inter-related. Often poor digestion is a combination of all 3 of these causes. Your body is one big interactive system, if one part of it is functioning poorly (particularly something as fundamental as digestion) then all other parts of the system will suffer. If living a long, healthy vibrant life is something you value, please consider some of the suggestions below.
The better way!
Stress can be a killer and needs to be addressed period. Life is always going to throw up new twists and turns, things aren’t always going to go the way you expected. Usually this brings most of us undone (annoyed, angry, depressed), but what if we started each day with a different premise:
“today somethings may not go the way I originally wanted, but that’s ok because I have the ability to adapt and are able to face new challenges/adventures”
It is only a little though to adopt, but it can be so powerful to you and those around you. One of the basic presuppositions of NLP is “the one with the most flexibility in a situation exerts the most influence”. Most of the time this influence will be purely in your own head, the flexibility of new thinking patterns v’s the stagnant fears and old habits that no longer serve who you really are.
Want to take charge of your own mind/life, then come along to the FREE NLP day.
Nutrition is pretty much the key to great health, mental function and sporting performance. Let food be thy medicine, the Greeks knew this 2500 years ago and thankfully modern medicine is utilizing good nutrition as an integral part of the prevention and treatment of most ailments.
Not sure what foods you should be eating to address poor digestion and improve your wellbeing? Our Planet Max 8 Week Challenge nutrition plans have already noticeably improved the digestion of our clients and you could benefit too.
Supplementation can be a useful tool to help with digestive issues in conjunction to getting your eating habits on track. Here are 3 products we routinely use to fortify our nutrition plans:
- Cold Filtered Protein Powder, has utilized processes to extract most of the lactose and fat without damaging the structure of the protein itself. In its un-denatured state, WPC fractions have a structure that is beneficial to your digestive tract. Our best-selling protein powder, Bioflex Nutrtion Proflex also has the lactase enzyme added. Whether you are lactose intolerant or have other digestive issues then Proflex has you covered.
- Glutamine is usually utilized by athletes to improve recovery from exercise, however most people don’t realize that at least half of the glutamine you ingest is gobbled up by the cells in your digestive tract. This is actually a good thing as improved digestive function leads to better nutrient absorption and better performance. If sports performance is not a propriety for you, Glutamine can be used solely to improve digestion and overall gut health. 5-10 grams per day mixed with juice, milk or water is sufficient with most people reporting an improved condition in just a few days.
- Biogreens while we advise you to get a decent amount of fruit and vegetables in each day, a quality greens formula can also provide some extra fiber to keep you regular as well as pre-biotics to keep those good bacteria thriving. Bioflex Biogreens is all natural and is lightly sweetened with stevia.
If you think you are lactose intolerant (or any food allergy), don’t speculate, go to your GP and get tested. Lactose intolerance can be easily managed with a few dietary changes. If your digestive problems have a different cause then we have covered some of the options for that too. Bottom line is that your digestion impacts your whole being and a little extra care and planning will pay big dividends to health and longevity.