We’ve been told since childhood that a glass of milk is one of the most nutritious things we can take. “Got Milk?” is one of the most well-known ads in the world, with some of the biggest celebrity names endorsing you get your daily dose of milk. However, the debate on dairy has grown. Even for those who are not lactose intolerant, dairy can be a source of health problems, from acne to weight gain. Is dairy good or bad? What are the benefits of giving it up and should you go cold turkey? If you’re pro-dairy, what sources of dairy are the most beneficial?
Pros of giving up dairy
A review of over 20 studies on milk as an aid to losing weight has concluded that dairy has no beneficial effect when it comes to body weight and body fat loss. Another study tracked the dairy intake of 12,000 children and found that they gained more weight. So, ignore the strategic marketing that slimmer people stay fit by regularly drinking milk.
About 4 percent of the Australian population are lactose intolerant and the number is rising. Their (and perhaps your own) intolerance to dairy is caused by the inability to digest lactose, which is a type of sugar in dairy. When not digested properly, dairy can cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, bloating and gas.
Dairy has been found to cause acne and eczema. Dairy has also been linked to flare-ups in the neck and jawline area. We can’t vouch for the benefits of bathing in milk for a more beautiful complexion, but to stop drinking it may just help.
If you’ve been advised to avoid milk and milk products while you have a cold, it’s for a good reason. Dairy enhances the body’s mucus production, leading to a more congested body system.
Less saturated fat
Dairy products like ice cream, cheese and heavy cream are rich in saturated fat. Too much saturated fat can result in weight gain, so if you’re trying to shed a few kilos, definitely lay off these fatty dairy products.
Lower risk of diabetes
Even the low-fat variety of milk and milk products can still be bad for you. If you’re trying to lose weight or are susceptible to diabetes, cut off low-fat dairy. Low-fat dairy manufacturers typically replace the missing fat with sugar.
Cons of giving up dairy
Reduced bone strength
Milk is good for the bones, right? We’re shown time and time again that our bones need calcium and that there’s no better source for that than dairy. While it’s true that milk is rich in such bone-strengthening nutrients, an excessive consumption of dairy can lead to undesirable results. Dairy also happens to be high in retinol (vitamin A), which can weaken bones if taken in high amounts.
Lost source of protein
There is some truth to the nutritional value of milk. Dairy contains all 20 amino acids and is high in protein. Certainly, you can add other sources of protein in your diet, but understand your protein intake from other sources may need to be increased if you decrease dairy consumption.
Lost source of calcium
Calcium is essential to bone health and blood pressure and milk is high in calcium content. It’s an easy and convenient source of calcium that you’ll have to replace with other foods. Calcium-rich foods you can reach for include leafy greens, beans, nuts, fruits and cereals.