Should you ditch dairy to lose weight?
Well, there’s a little more to it than just ditching dairy, but there is a possibility it could help you lose weight, especially if it’s some stubborn weight. Stick with me & I’ll go into a little more detail.
Have you ever eaten dairy only to end up with abdominal pain, discomfort, and nausea? Maybe not, but you may have endured gassiness, bloating or diarrhea. Some more symptoms you may not have even considered are things like muscle or joint pain, headaches, exhaustion, and even skin symptoms like rashes and eczema.
Now that I’ve covered some of the symptoms you may be experiencing (or have experienced), let me cover a little on intolerance and allergy to the components of milk.
Ditch Dairy to Lose Weight & Being Lactose Intolerant
Lactose is the “milk sugar” naturally found in most dairy products & it’s estimated up to 65% people are unable to digest lactose after infancy. If you’re of East Asian descent, that number may be as high as 90%!! If you are lactose intolerant, you lack the enzyme lactase. Lactase helps break down lactose found in dairy.
If you are lactose intolerant, you have probably noticed there are lactose-free products (the most common is milk) in your grocery store. These products are made “lactose-free” by adding the enzyme lactase. The lactase breaks down the lactose before you ingest the product.
Normally, the lactase enzyme is produced in your small intestine as one of your digestive enzymes. It breaks down the lactose (milk sugar) in the gut. Problems occur when there’s not enough lactase. This leads to lactose not being broken down the way it should be. Then the undigested lactose ends up being food for the resident gut microbes. As these guys ferment, the lactose, gases are created which can cause bloating, flatulence, pain, and sometimes diarrhea.
While lactose is found in dairy there are lower amounts in dairy products like cheese & yogurt because they go through a fermentation process. (To simplify…the lactose is “eaten up” during this process.)
If you’re lactose intolerant ingesting dairy can cause some gut issues, so ditching dairy to lose weight may be a solution for. If you think this is the case, try steering clear of dairy, but also look for hidden sources.
What are some of these hidden sources? Dairy is something manufacturers add to a lot of items like baked goods, soups, and sauces. Another source of dairy that isn’t as common is medications. If you’re taking any medications or supplements, you need to check the labels to see if it’s there too. If you aren’t sure about your medications or supplements, you may want to contact the manufacturer to make sure.
Ditch Dairy to Lose Weight & Having a Milk Allergy
Did you know milk is the top food allergen in infants & young children and is required in the United States to be listed on food labels? The most common place to find an allergy listed is the bottom of the ingredients next to the word “Contain(s)”
You may be curious about what is in milk that causes an allergy. There are two parts (proteins) that spark a reaction: casein & whey. Going back to Little Miss Muffet, you probably remember “curds & whey”. The solid parts are the curds (made of casein), and the liquid is whey.
Like lactose, these milk proteins are found in other products besides milk and milk products. Another common source you’ve probably heard of is “whey” protein powders.
Unlike lactose intolerance, casein and whey can cause an actual immune response because it’s an allergy and not intolerance. This immune response can cause inflammation and various symptoms. Some of the symptoms of a milk allergy differ from lactose intolerance, with symptoms of nasal congestion and mucus (phlegm) being common. (A severe allergy can be life-threatening. Please seek medical attention!) Another thing to consider is there seems to be a link between a casein allergy and belly fat.
SIDE NOTE: People who have gluten intolerance are often allergic to milk proteins like whey and casein as well.
So, if you believe you may have a milk allergy, make sure you check labels. Just because you don’t think milk would be in a product, doesn’t mean it isn’t.
While dairy may be an entire food group, it is not an essential nutrient. All the nutrients in dairy are available in other foods.
If you have battled with gas, bloating, diarrhea, joint pain, skin issues, stuffy nose or phlegm, then you may want to consider ditching dairy to lose weight.
You can try to remove dairy from your diet for a specific amount of time (21 days is usually recommended) to see if you see improvements. Things you may experience are better digestion, fewer gut issues & less congestion. Who knows, you may see a decrease in your belly fat as well.
After 21 days, people usually try to slowly re-introduce the avoided foods to see if their body can tolerate them (journal to track your symptoms). If not, you may need to ask yourself if eating the food is worth dealing with the symptoms.
If you decide to (or have already) removed dairy from your diet, let me know your experience in the comments below while you enjoy this yum yum recipe!!!
Dairy-Free Ice Cream
A dairy-free chocolate ice cream that will satisfy your craving.
- 3 Bananas sliced and frozen
- 1 Tbs Cacao Powder unsweetened (or carob)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbsp Almond Butter
Place frozen bananas in food processor and blend until smooth (a few minutes). You may have to stop a few times to scrape the sides.
Add cacao powder and almond butter and blend until mixed well.
Serve & enjoy!
You can make this in advance and freeze in an airtight container.
Feel free to add more cacao for a darker flavor.
You can also add different flavorings (peppermint, almond, coconut, etc)