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- There are several myths surrounding how cutting out dairy can affect your body.
- Cutting out dairy can result in weight loss but it might not be permanent.
- You may also get sick more often and because you’re lacking vitamins like calcium.
- Visit INSIDER’s home page for more stories.
Making any change to your diet, whether large or small, can be nerve-wracking. When your body has become so accustomed to consuming and digesting a product, it can be concerning to completely eliminate it. One product that more and more people seem to be cutting out is dairy.
Whether you want to cut out dairy for ethical reasons, because consuming it doesn’t make your body feel great anymore, or because you’ve seen it have a positive impact on others – such as with celebrity Khloe Kardashian who credits the elimination of dairy for part of her weight loss – this could be a great choice for you. There’s a lot you need to consider, however, before you make the leap, including how your body could react.
Here’s what could happen to your body if you cut our dairy.
You could experience some weight loss — but not for the reasons you think.
Like Khloe Kardashian, many associate cutting out dairy with weight loss. The logic for this is simple: If you’re cutting out a major food group like dairy and not replacing it with anything else, then you’re taking in fewer calories each day. Over the time span or a few weeks to a month, you may notice the number of the scale decreases. This doesn’t have too much to do with how dairy impacts your metabolism but more on the fact that you’re not eating any products from a large food group.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that consuming full-fat dairy may actually aid in weight loss. In a large 2016 study in the American Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that women who consumed higher quantities of high-fat dairy products had an 8% lower risk of being overweight or obese. If you’re going to eat dairy, full-fat is the way to go.
The weight can be hard to keep off.
According to Lisa Moskovitz, a certified dietitian-nutritionist, and CEO of NY Nutrition Group, this weight loss is not always permanent. Losing weight in this manner can be hard to keep off.
“It has vital nutrients including protein and bone-building calcium, and is a good source of vitamin D, which most people are lacking in their diets,” Moskovitz told Glamour back in 2015 when Kardashian first revealed her “weight loss secret.”
“Unless you’re avoiding dairy for a medical reason, it is not something I would recommend as a weight loss solution … If some of the excess calories that you take in are from dairy products, cutting those foods out right off the bat will help you lose weight. If your downfall is cheese, you can lose weight by avoiding cheese – as long as you’re not replacing it with other foods, you’ll be taking in fewer calories.”
You might bloat less.
In addition to some weight loss, you may notice that you’re feeling less bloating once you start cutting out dairy. The reason for this has to do with how the body digests dairy. Statistically, most people have a hard time digesting dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt. In fact, the US. National Library of Medicine reported that about 65% of the population struggles with this. So when dairy is cut out, bloating can decrease.
“This is due to the fact that many people lack lactase, the enzyme needed to properly digest cow’s milk,” nutritionist Frida Harju-Westman explained to Cosmopolitan. “If you cut out dairy, you may find that your digestion improves, perhaps making you feel less bloated.”
You may get sick more often and be nutrient-deficient.
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Although dairy may cause bloating and some digestive issues for some, it also provides many benefits to the body, thus why it is one of the major food groups. Among the benefits are the nutrients associated with dairy. These include calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, proteins, folate, B1, B2, B6, and B12, according to WebMD. Needless to say, dairy is nutrient-packed. And so, cutting it out can make you nutrient-deficiency if you don’t begin to substitute other foods into your diet.
“When you stop eating dairy, you might find that your immune system becomes considerably weaker,” Harju-Westman explained to Cosmopolitan. “This may because you are lacking the important vitamin B12. B12 is commonly found in dairy products and assists in regulating the immune system and helping the body to fight bacteria. If you lack B12 you may find that you feel weaker and may pick up unwanted illnesses more easily, so be sure to combat this deficiency by eating foods that are fortified with this vitamin, or consult your doctor about whether to take a B12 supplement.”
If you plan to cut out dairy, some great options to replace that lack of calcium are enriched soy milk and calcium-enriched orange juice.
Your skin might clear up.
Cutting out dairy may also have an impact on your skin. Many suggest that making this diet change can decrease acne. Jeannette Graf, MD, is one of the many who believes this. She told Refinery29, “When a patient of mine comes to me with a problem with acne, I put them on medication and I try to take them off dairy. I’ve noticed that when they don’t stop with the dairy, the medication doesn’t work as well.”
Further, Sarika Snell, a dermatologist in Washington, D.C. previously told INSIDER, “Cutting dairy improves skin texture, skin tone, and acne.”
The biggest irritant of the dairy food group, though, is skim milk, Snell said.” Whey protein, which is specifically found in skim milk, is pro-inflammatory and can lead to inflammation which can manifest as acne and rosacea,” she added.
Although eliminating dairy might clear your skin a bit, it is not a miracle that will cure all acne as acne is often caused by a wide array of medical reasons. It’s also best to seek the advice of a medical expert when dealing with acne issues.
You might have more energy.
Many foods that include dairy are not good for the body including pizza and other processed foods. These foods can be high in added oils and preservatives as well. So cutting out dairy would mean also cutting out this commonly eaten bad food which would, in turn, have added benefits.
“It’s easy to fall into a habit of regularly eating unhealthy, dairy-rich foods such as creamy pasta, cheese, and pizza,” Harju-Westman explained to Cosmopolitan. “When you give up dairy, you may find that you begin to think more carefully about the foods you eat. For example, in order to combat the lack of calcium in your diet traditionally gained from consuming dairy products, you will likely replace these with other calcium-rich foods such as spinach, kale and white beans. Eating vitamin-rich foods such as this may well lead to having more energy as your diet becomes packed with more nutrients,” she explained.
Doing this may also impact your mood, leading to an overall better feeling each day.
- Read more:
- Here’s what happens to your skin when you cut out dairy, according to dermatologists
- 5 potential drawbacks of following a vegan diet
- 14 foods you can eat as much of as you want and not gain weight