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foobar


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Posted Sun Mar 8th, 2009 12:40am Post subject: QI XL 07/03/09 - bread and milk
After seeing today's QI XL, I have to defend Alan's remark about feeding bread and milk to mammals. As far as I know, all mammals - except some humans - lose the ability to digest lactose after they've been weaned. The result is that if you do feed them lactose, they'll develop digestive problems, most likely resulting in diarrhoea. Vets will usually tell you not to feed (too many) dairy products to mammals.

Humans in theory have the same problem. You might have heard about Asian and African people not being able to digest dairy products very well. According to a TV show about the origins and effects of lactose intolerance, the genetic mutation of humans that retains the ability to produce lactase (the enzyme required to digest lactose) originated somewhere in or around the Ural mountains in Russia. They then must have spread across Europe and some Arabian countries. It's very much due to their success that European cuisine tends to include large amounts of dairy.

Lactose intolerance is a very wide-spread phenomenon, and people can be lactose intolerant to varying degrees. One of the first effects of having dairy is that the body allocates more resources to dealing with this indigestible substance you're feeding it, diverting them away from the brain - which makes you tired. It's likely that drinking warm milk as a home remedy against sleeplessness is exploiting that fact.

I could go on about lactose intolerance for a while, but I'd bore people. So I'll switch to a different topic: I could swear sliding paper out of an envelope was the sound effect used for doors in Star Trek, not Star Wars. I may be wrong - and maybe it was both. But there's the ongoing joke about Scotty not being able to fix the door to the bridge in the series (it squeaks), and doors do make a sound distinctly similar to that of sliding paper. On the other hand, I can't recall doors making any distinguishable sound in Star Wars.

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Help


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Posted Sun Mar 8th, 2009 11:32am Post subject: QI XL 07/03/09 - bread and milk
Well I'm in two minds.
My mother in law can't drink it, but I can.
My dog can't drink it but my cat can!

I did feel a tad sorry for Alan when David started shouting at him

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Queen Marge


Member

Posted Sun Mar 8th, 2009 5:48pm Post subject: QI XL 07/03/09 - bread and milk
Ha! As a child I was often given 'pobs' by my Mum. It was a mixture of milk and yes, bread - and I still alive *ahem* years later

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foobar


Member

Posted Thu Mar 26th, 2009 7:57pm Post subject: QI XL 07/03/09 - bread and milk
Well, as I wrote, in western cultures the ability to digest lactose is wide-spread to the point of being considered normal. That doesn't mean it's normal for the majority of the world's population, though.

Being lactose intolerant also does not mean you die. It's not an allergic reaction. In an allergic reaction, your immune system misfunctions and fights something that is entirely harmless to you, with effects that can be deadly. An intolerance, on the other hand, just means your digestive tract tries to flush out a substance it finds indigestible.

Some people just report that certain foods feel "heavy" to them. Those are typically (not exclusively) foods containing lots of dairy (the cheese course at the end of a meal serves as a decent example). How badly you react depends on your personal genetic makeup and general health. You may not have any reaction whatsoever.

Also keep in mind that while lactose intolerance has been known since the seventies, it's really only in the late nineties that doctors have begun to understand it as a common condition - and only now can you assume with any degree of certainty that any random doctor will understand the issue.

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