Monday, 8 June 2015

When Yummy Turns Smelly

Have you ever wondered why some people get a stomach upset after consuming milk? They will experience stomach cramps and give out a lot of gas before rushing to the toilet to relieve their bowels a few hours after drinking milk or consuming dairy products like ice cream. 

This condition is called lactose intolerance. It is not a disease; it’s just that they are not able to properly digest milk. Milk is a whole food that contains carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals and salts. As for early breast milk, it additionally contains antibodies. 

The carbohydrate found in milk is called lactose, a kind of sugar. Lactose is broken down by the enzyme lactase before it enters the bloodstream. Unfortunately, for those who are lactose intolerant, they do not have this enzyme in their digestive system. Therefore, the lactose will instead be fermented by bacteria found in the gut, and this process will produce acids that cause the stomach cramps, and lots of carbon dioxide, that causes the person to give out a lot of gas, also known as flatulence. Be prepared to take in the unpleasant odours when sitting next to a person who is lactose intolerant! 

All mammals, including humans, have the enzyme lactase in their digestive system when they are being breast-fed, also called the weaning period. As they develop the ability to consume other types of food, their lactase levels in their digestive system will drop. More than ninety percent of Asian and African adults are lactose intolerant, while only five percent of Caucasian adults have this condition.
So, when you reach teenage years or adulthood, you may need to cut down on the consumption of milk and dairy products if you find yourself getting bloated, stomach cramps, and giving out a lot of gas after drinking milk. 

Experiment: To emulsify the fat molecules in milk

A flat tray, food colouring (3 different colours), whole milk, and liquid soap.

1. Pour the milk into the tray so that it covers the bottom.
2. Add about 6 – 8 drops of different coloured food colouring onto the milk at different spots.
3. Add about 5 drops of liquid soap onto the drops of food colouring and observe what happens.
4. When you drop the liquid soap onto the milk, it tries to break down the fat in the milk. This process is called emulsification. While it was doing that, it caused the colour to scatter and mix creating a very colourful display.

Lactose [lak-tohs] – a disaccharide found in milk that breaks down into glucose and galactose.
Intolerant [in-tol-er-uhnt] – unable to tolerate or endure.
Flatulent [flach-uh-luhnt] – generating gas in the alimentary canal.
Emulsify [ih-muhl-suh-fahy] – to make into or form an emulsion.

Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest blogger

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