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Your mom said it and maybe even you said it: black people shouldn’t drink too much milk. There are a whole host of reasons people hold on to that belief and research from the University of California Berkeley has proven them all wrong, says the Grio. Unfortunately, black people who avoid drinking milk may be the people that actually need it the most.

The reasons black people tend to avoid milk and other dairy products are “they believe they’re lactose intolerant but also because they think pasteurized milk isn’t safe to drink or contains unsafe hormones.” These beliefs persist as more and more research says milk can help fight Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension–all diseases that affect black people more than other ethnic groups.

Dietitian Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD writes for the Grio that what you thought you knew about milk is wrong. Any time your or your child’s stomach feels a little funny after consuming milk doesn’t necessarily mean lactose intolerance. What might actually be happening is lactose maldigestion, something that does happen to about 75 percent of blacks. Brown-Riggs invites you start slowly with a half glass of milk or start incorporating natural cheeses like cheddar and Parmesan into more of your cooking.

The research stresses that bottom line, milk is something you should add to your diet. “All milk sold in the United States is wholesome, safe and nutritious,” writes Brown-Riggs.

Do you and your family consume milk on a regular basis?

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