Mayr’s Myth

I had a discussion with a visitor to the famous Austrian Clinic named Viva Mayr, the premier European clinic for restoring and revitalizing your health. Our discussion was about Lactose and her intolerance, and the benefits of a visit to Viva Mayr clinic. This spiked my interest, so I started to research, and I am still wondering about our discussions.

Thinking about it more, lactose intolerance is not something that drops from the sky. I have heard about it for years, and always wondered why so many people becoming lactose intolerant. My guess is, the body rejects an overdose of sugar and lactose is basically milk sugar.

I hesitate when a person goes to a high-end clinic and they say “no this, and no that” and people leave thinking okay, but after a month they’re pushing their old routine. Think of it this way, “no more bagel and cream cheese”, it works for two weeks but sooner or later your body goes from the clinic, back to reality.

The point is, its okay to say “no this”, and “no that”, but if you want the diet to pay off, you need to change the fundamentals of the game. At Mayr clinic they teach you good habits, how to think, what to eat, chew, and plenty of exercise and no wine.

They give you Epsom salts to drink every morning, and stale bread to eat. But the old habits are hard to kick, and teaching a new trick to an old dog is tough. At the same time, a clinic wants to regiment their patients and make them do what they want. Thinking this is helping a person, it may, or it may just leave you with “eating fears”.

A quick fix isn’t going to do the job, even if it feels good. Those treatments are like drugs; you get hooked on feeling high, immediate gratification, but not for long. Although there are some exceptions to the rule most are going back for a weight fix.

I know that people who leave Viva Mayr have results, and the single most important result is weight loss. This is done mostly by water and salt and controlled food intake. I pause, I hesitate, I refused to go after researching Mayr’s good news, the weight loss. The similar reports in the visitors’ book in the lobby read, ‘Thank you, darling Mayr, extols one delighted guest. ‘I’ve lost five kilos in a week!’, and that the very thing that frightens me away –  too fast-too quick.

Before anyone flies to Austria, they should learn how to shop at their local grocer, learn what to buy, and what not to buy. If your colon is filled up toxins, you can gently clean it by buying Dr. Junger’s 30 day cleanse, it is a lot cheaper way to fix your weight problems:

I start to believe that more and more people become lactose intolerant because of the treatment of milk and the fact that milk is made in a way that is so unnatural: from cows in cramped stalls, machine milked, hormones, and animals fed in ways that do not promote good animal health. Milk is simply a sugar poison.

Back to the cheese, I looked at a simple data-base, that provides ranges of lactose in cheese. I was curious to see the ranges and it indicates that you must go cheese by cheese.

Before we get into which cheeses, let’s talk about lactose. Lactose is, simply, the naturally occurring sugars found in milk.  The prefix “lact” indicates milk, and the suffix “ose” designates sugar. Anything below 2% lactose can be tolerated well by the majority of those Lactose Intolerant.

This means there are many cheese that are soft (Cow and others) you can enjoy, and if you did not suffer from lactose symptoms, then why stop eating good quality cheeses. In terms of commercial milk forget it, all milk is junk, industry made and mass-produced.

Unprocessed cow milk is about 4.7% lactose. Unprocessed milk from other contains a similar fraction of lactose Goat Milk 4.7%, Buffala 4.86%, Yak 4.93%, Sheep Milk 4.6%. Commercial cheeses, however, are often manufactured by processes that do not have the same lactose-reducing properties that traditional methods prove. Sour Creams if made in the traditional way, may be tolerable to those mildly intolerant.

In the cheese-making process, milk is fermented, just like it is in our small intestines. By adding starter cultures, those beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacilli to the milk, fermentation occurs and the lactose is converted to lactic acid, a substance that has no ill effect on lactose intolerance, and it is easily metabolized in the small intestine.

Some cheeses have a starter culture of bacteria that increases lactic acid content, and so reduces lactose concentrations. The temperature of coagulation, starter culture, coagulating enzyme and the acid produced, influences the properties of the curd and degree of whey expulsion, and hence the final lactose content.

Starter cultures are generally used to make aged cheeses, not the fresh types. Now before we go further, what are fresh cheeses? Most fresh cheese are wet, soft and eaten young and fresh. For example of a fresh cheese, a cheese you could easily eat is the real mozzarella di buffalo.

We visited a fresh cheese producer (organic mozzarella) in southern Italy, and they separated the whey from the curd. Then the curds for the mozzarella are heated and stretched to give it a spongy and creamy texture. The whey is the liquid part of milk left over when milk is precipitated, e.g. the curds are solidified and separated from the liquid whey, which is milky white in the case of mozzarella. This is fresh cheese you can easily enjoy, as whey typically has more lactose in it than curds do. Since the whey is drained from the curds before cheese is made, this removes quite a bit of lactose.

Both kefir and yogurt are lactic acid fermentations. The lactic series of cheese are primarily made with little to no rennet and rely primarily on the action of the bacteria converting the milk lactose to lactic acid. The curds are the solids, the proteins. This buffalo Mozzarella is less than 2% and would fine for most.

The problem lies in the fact that starter cultures are seldom used to make fresh cheeses, thus leaving much of the lactose intact, and many fresh cheeses contain much more whey than aged cheeses, even cheeses only aged a short while, and whey is the enemy of the lactose intolerance.

It depends on how lactose intolerant you are, and there are varying degrees. I cannot see how any clinic can say “no cheese” to someone who eats cheese and doesn’t suffer. The general rules apply but in some cases fresh cheeses are not a problem for a moderate case of lactose intolerance. As long as they are made with cultured milk you’ll be more than likely fine, understanding culturing milk is fermenting, converting enough lactose to lactic acid to render it safe for lactose intolerance people. Quark is one example of a fresh cheese made with cultured milk.

If you find you can eat these cheeses with no ill effect, try a soft cheese, or blue cheese, vacherin mont d’or.  If you suffer, don’t eat them, but make sure the suffering is a real pain and not something the doctor told you.

The curds used to make softer cheeses (like Brie) have more moisture (whey) in them than the curds used to make hard, dry cheeses like Cheddar. Therefore, soft cheeses tend to have more lactose than hard cheeses. As cheese ages, it loses even more moisture. The longer a cheese has been aged, the less lactose will remain in the final product. During the maturation process the lactose changes into lactic acid.

My guest who visited Mayr clinic thought it was a blood test to check her lactose intolerance but I doubt it. After researching it, I think it is more a breathing test. To assess lactose intolerance, intestinal function is challenged by ingesting more dairy products than can be readily digested.

Clinical symptoms typically appear within 30 minutes, but may take up to two hours, depending on other foods and activities. In a hydrogen breath test, after an overnight fast, 25 grams of lactose (in a solution with water) is swallowed. If the lactose cannot be digested, enteric bacteria metabolize it and produce hydrogen, which, along with methane, if produced, can be detected on the patient’s breath by a clinical gas chromatography or compact solid-state detector. The test takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete.

The long and short of it, trust what your body says, not what Doctors tell you, test it yourself, don’t be afraid, or give up the foods that warm your soul. Don’t become Mayr’s myth, or a member of the Mayr’s flock – think for yourself.