What percentage of the population is lactose intolerant?

Lactose is the sugar found in milk.

Lactose intolerance is a condition when a person is unable to digest lactose.  People affected vary by how much lactose they can tolerate.  Symptoms include nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.
People affected by this condition lack the usual amount of an enzyme called “lactase” that breaks lactose down in our bowel.
There are different types of lactose intolerance.  A very rare kind is present from birth, but most people with lactose intolerance develop it as they age, and as their lactase level decreases.  Lactose intolerance can also develop after an illness, such as an intestinal infection.
Most people can be diagnosed by excluding dairy from their diet, but there is testing for this condition that includes blood testing, hydrogen breath testing, and even intestinal biopsy.
People with lactose intolerance can eat fermented cheese, as it actually contains no lactose.  98% of the lactose is  drained off with the whey, and the other 2 percent is consumed by lactic acid bacteria in the fermentation process.
Over 65% of people develop lactose intolerance with age!  In Asia, up to 90% of people have lactose intolerance, whereas in Northern Europe, only about 5% of people are affected.

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