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June 1994

Alternative Sources of Calcium

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(6):660. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170060114026

The spirited exchange between Oski and Paige1 and Finberg2 in the inaugural issue of the Archives was instructive and amusing. The comments of Oski and Paige regarding the expense, availability, and environmental impact of relying on protein from cow's milk are of interest. Still, I believe that any article dealing with alternative calcium sources for lactase-deficient individuals should at least mention cheese. I have frequently encountered nurses, physicians, and even nutritionists who are not aware that the minimal amounts of lactose in most cheeses (excluding creamed cottage cheese and cheese food) are generally well tolerated by lactase-deficient persons. Twenty-eight grams of cheddar cheese has 208 mg of calcium and only 0.5 g of lactose; 28 g of Swiss cheese has 272 mg of calcium and 0.2 g of lactose. In contrast, 240 mL of whole milk has 12.2 g of lactose.3

I wish Oski and Paige luck