Are you in the in-between phase? Do you purchase almond milk on occasion and sometimes ask for oat milk in your iced coffee, but also love cheese in your burritos and snack on yogurt? You’ve heard dairy may not be the best thing for you, but you’re still on the fence. It may be time to detox from dairy.
We hear you, but the true health impacts of dairy are often muted by dairy industry marketing dollars. Many don’t fully realize the negative effects dairy can have on our health, and once you know, it’s a lot easier to cut it out.
Here are six reasons why we should all detox from dairy.
1. Dairy Is Linked to Acne and Skin Issues
Dairy causes the overproduction of sebum. The hormones in cow’s milk trigger the production of this oily, waxy substance within the skin. If sebum gets trapped in our pores, bacteria will grow in our follicles and clog them. Clogged pores cause inflammation, which can then progress to redness, swelling, and inflamed acne.
With that, staying away from dairy is a popular way to make your skin less susceptible to acne. Cutting milk from your diet will decrease your sebum production and likely make your skin look and feel better. More research is needed to show the causal relationship between dairy consumption and acne, but anecdotal evidence has continued to support a link between the two.
2. Dairy Impedes Digestion
Do you need to take Lactaid before consuming dairy products? You’re not alone—lactose intolerance is more common than you may think. According to the US National Library of Medicine, 65 percent of humans are lactose intolerant, but many are unaware of this issue. Those who are lactose intolerant have a very hard time digesting any dairy product—be that ice cream, cheese, or yogurt. If you experience gas, bloat, stomach pain, diarrhea, or other digestive issues after consuming dairy products, you’re likely in the majority of people who can’t digest dairy.
There’s an easy fix to these uncomfortable symptoms: ditch dairy. Once you do, your digestion will become more consistent. Imagine living with no bloat! It’s possible if you detox from dairy. The best part: you’ll reap the benefits within days of living dairy-free.
3. Dairy May Lead to Weight Gain
The supply of dairy in the US has constantly outpaced the demand for decades. To entice consumers to buy more, the dairy industry has laced many products with added sugars. From flavored yogurts and cream cheese to chocolate milk, it’s hard to find a dairy product that’s not pumped with sugar. Sugars are high calories but minimal in nutrients. Further, dairy products have little to no fiber, so even though you’re eating a good amount of calories, it won’t fill you up, which could cause you to eat more. Excess calories transform into fat if not burned off. If you’ve been trying to shed a few extra pounds, simply ditching dairy could help you accomplish that goal—without dieting. Once you eliminate dairy from your diet, weight loss becomes more achievable.
4. Dairy Drags You Down
It’s not uncommon for many people to consume dairy-rich foods after a long day. It’s normal to seek comfort from pizza, cheese-filled pasta, ice cream, or wine and cheese when under stress. While these dairy-laden foods may provide a fleeting distraction, they may also cause you to feel tired all the time.
Dairy products increase the formation of mucus within the body. Moreover, the protein from dairy may cause inflammation in some parts of the body. When the digestive tract and the thyroid gland are inflamed, your body may undergo serious issues. Thyroid problems can cause fatigue and lower energy levels. For more on dairy’s effect on the thyroid, listen to our podcast expert with autoimmune expert, Dr. Brooke Goldner.
If you feel sluggish throughout the day, ditching dairy could help raise your energy levels. You may not even need that second cup of coffee!
5. Dairy Could Messing with Your Mood
While most don’t think about it as they reach for that gallon of milk, dairy comes from cows. More importantly, pregnant cows. Your favorite brand of milk may say “no added hormones,” but that doesn’t mean there are no hormones to begin with. Pregnant cows are raging with natural bovine hormones such as estrogen, cortisol, and progesterone, and these hormones are transferred into their milk. Once they enter your body, these hormones can throw off your hormone balance and lead to changes in mood.
For more on dairy and hormones, listen to our podcast episode with Dr. Neal Barnard—author of Your Hormones in Balance.
6. Dairy May Exacerbate Headaches
Have you ever had a headache that came out of nowhere? If you’ve been suffering from migraines a lot lately, think about what you have eaten. If dairy makes a regular appearance in your meals—specifically, cheese—it may be the culprit. Tyramine, a natural chemical, has been linked to headaches. Cheese contains a substantial amount of tyramine, which could set off your next headache or migraine. Give dairy a rest to see if you feel better. Once you do, you’ll never be tempted by cheese again.
Guest post by Natasha Spencer of Total Shape. Natasha is a social media guru and fanatic of HIIT, dancing for fitness, rowing, and spinning dedicated to inspiring people to move and groove for a healthy mind and body.