92.3: 中国成年人口中乳糖不耐症的人数比例，这一说法似乎与西方以乳制品为基础的食品在中国的崛起形成了直接矛盾。举个例子: 披萨(或许是最芝士的西方食物之一)消费的蓬勃发展，以及每年成千上万的披萨爱好者涌入我们的披萨节。
92.3: The percentage of the Chinese adult population believed to be lactose intolerant, a claim which seems to be in direct contradiction to the rise of Western, dairy-based food in China. Case in point: the blossoming consumption of pizza, perhaps one of the cheesiest Western foods around, and the thousands of devotees who flock to our Pizza Festival each year.
The 'over 90 percent' figure is based on a study carried out by a team of US scientists over 30 years ago, and is still consistently quoted to this day. What certainly sounds like an incredible statistic can in fact be explained by the region's traditional diet, and in turn, the biological evolution of Asians. That's because East Asians more often than not lack lactase enzymes – needed to break down lactose in the body – due to dairy not being traditionally consumed after childhood. Compare this to Europe where dairy has been an important source of nutrition throughout history and fewer than 10 percent of people are lactose intolerant.
This leaves the puzzle of the pizza boom in China, which perhaps says more about the growth of Chinese interest in Western culinary culture than any change in biology. And it's not just the public who has fallen for dairy; as of 2014, the Chinese government began a nationwide push for milk consumption in schools as a means to fight calcium deficiency. Though scientifically unlikely to combat lactose intolerance, such an endorsement is likely to change attitudes to a foodstuff once considered "weird."
That growing acceptance can be observed in China's supermarkets, where cheese is mostly highly processed (and as a result less lactose-rich), often sweetened, and marketed for children. While it's unlikely that interest in the more "fruity" types of mature cheeses devoured in Europe will take off any time soon, it's clear that a rise in Western fast food is fueling a rise in dairy consumption. However, the extent of lactose intolerance in China remains elusive and it is unclear how many people are simply suffering through the pain for the next pizza slice. If that's the case, we can most certainly relate.
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