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Lactose and ethnicity

Lactose Intolerance & Ethnicity

An individual's ethnicity can be a significant factor in their propensity to develop lactose intolerance. While least common among Caucasians, it is highly prevalent in the populations  of Far East and Africa. These ethnic groups are more likely to be affected by lactose intolerance than others because their diets traditionally include fewer dairy products than the Western diets they may now be more accustomed to.

As lactose intolerance can affect all age groups within non-Caucasian populations it is important to raise patients’ awareness of the condition and help them to manage it. A simple way to do this is for patients to try the two-week elimination diet, a process whereby dairy foods are cut out of the diet completely and then reintroduced slowly to determine the level of lactose that can be tolerated.