Map of Milk Consumption & Lactose Intolerance Around the World

[click through for hi-res]

Living in a country that not only fosters, but encourages mass consumption of ridiculously decadent food fare, I find it a little surprising that the United States is NOT the number one consumer of dairy products. I mean we live in a land that throws chocolate in and around basically any food imaginable along with copious amounts of bacon and we’re neither the lead consumer of milk nor pork per capita, believe it or not. I might even be a little disappointed at those facts if I weren’t suffering from three simultaneous heart attacks right now.

I’m kidding of course about the heart attacks. But seriously, it seems that most Americans just don’t have the same love and affection (and possibly lactose tolerance) as certain parts of Europe with countries like Sweden consuming between two and three hundred Kgs (that’s 440-660 lbs for us ‘Mericans) of milk per capita per year. Meanwhile, China’s consumption of milk is among the lowest with 37 Kgs (81 lbs) per capita per year. This next image illustrating the percentage of each country’s population allergic to lactose–a sugar found in milk and dairy products–might shed some light on these statistics.

[click through for hi-res]

It turns out that over 90% of China’s population is allergic to lactose, which might explain it’s low consumption. I’d probably be less inclined to eat something that gave me indigestion, but I am still a sucker for rest-stop sushi. C’est la vie.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s population of lactose intolerant individuals is right around 4%. Back over in the US, lactose intolerance varies by race with about 74% of African Americans, 87% of Indians and 14% of Caucasians with some kind of lactose allergy.

via Visual News

Brian earned his bachelor's degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton with an emphasis in Photocommunications. He is a self-proclaimed ramen aficionado and dabbles in photography and writing in his spare time. While almost a carnivore, he doesn't shy away from partaking in peculiar cuisine whenever he's offered the chance. Some of his current culinary obsessions include home-made peanutella, gastropub burgers and sea urchin sashimi.

In this article:
  • Eugene Kan
  • William

    Do you have any sources? I would love to read them! :)

  • Eli

    Sources, anyone? The percentage at least for Spain cannot be right.

  • Terra Magnum Imperium

    Before age 7 almost anyone can drink milk, around that time the Lactose tolerant gene is turned off for most people

  • Justin Mulvey

    90% of china’s population is NOT allergic to lactose. It’s pretty hard to have an allergy against a disaccharide. They can’t lyse the sugar, and bacteria digest it. This is not an allergy.

  • kaharla

    There is a HUGE difference between being lactose intolerant and being allergic to milk. Intolerance means your body can’t break down lactose, the main sugar in milk, so your gut bacteria do it for you, producing gas as a byproduct and leading to all the nasty symptoms.
    Allergic reactions are usually much more dangerous than lactose intolerance. People with a milk allergy are typically allergic to caseins, the main proteins in milk, not to lactose.