Should You Be Eating Dairy? Get the Pros and Cons...
If you’re like most people, you probably like milk in your diet.
You might say, “But I don’t drink milk,” but the milk we get in a glass is just one form of milk. Milk is generally added in bread, cookies, cakes, cake mixes, cereals, chewing gum, coffee creamer, candies, chocolates, and even some hot meals and soups. Supplements can also contain dairy, especially protein shakes.
After reviewing this list, you probably realize how much dairy has snuck into your diet. You may have noticed lately an emerging trend of people going on a dairy-free diet, which virtually means no milk in anything.
If you’re interested to know more about going dairy-free, we made a shortlist of the pros and cons of going dairy-free. We also let you know about the possible nutrients dairy-free diets may need and what supplements to take.
The Pros of a Dairy-Free Diet
- It can help with acne problems. People report having clearer skin since going dairy-free, especially when it comes to acne. Acne is an inflammatory condition and is triggered by trapped oils in the pores. Consuming dairy is a major cause of inflammation and can contribute to oiliness and cause acne.
- Reduces bloating. Having a bad case of gas or flatulence is often joked about as being caused by eating cheese, but there is some truth to that statement. There are many people whose bodies just can’t tolerate anything with milk in them, specifically lactose. When they ingest something with lactose, their body cannot break it down and can cause gas, bloating, and even an inflammatory problem in your large intestine.
- Weight loss. As we listed earlier, dairy is in quite a lot of food. Most of these foods also often have heapings of sugar, and sugar can contribute to more than a handful of reasons people have trouble keeping the weight off. Going on a dairy-free diet may improve your weight management.
The Cons of a Dairy-Free Diet
- Requires a good level of nutritional planning. Just like other diets, going dairy-free means you will be restricting yourself from nutrients sourced mainly from dairy products. Suppose you’ve been mostly getting major nutrients from dairy products all your life. In that case, you have to assess whether your current lifestyle (especially the resources available to you) is conducive to the diet and the nutrients you could lack.
- Food alternatives can be expensive. There’s a running gag among those who like eating out, and it’s how restaurants can justify a costly meal by having the word “organic” and GMO in the name. The same principle can be applied to non-dairy alternatives. Milk is mass-produced, so it’s a relatively cheap ingredient. A food item that usually has dairy but is sold as dairy-free means the manufacturer spent more money getting that food to taste just as good without dairy.
- Can limit food choices. Simply put, you’re going to have to keep asking the fast-food worker or restaurant server if what you’re about to order has dairy in it, and it can be an unpleasant experience. Solve this by having a list of food places that offer dairy-free meals, so you won’t have to keep going somewhere else when you just want to eat out.
Supplements to take on a Dairy-Free Diet
If you’re planning on going dairy-free, here are the essential nutrients you should consider supplementing in your diet.
- Minerals like calcium. Milk is one of our best sources of calcium. Taking out dairy means your daily calcium intake will be impaired. Not to mention how calcium is involved in maintaining a strong immunity, bones, and teeth as it synergizes with vitamin D synthesis.
- Vitamin B12. You can still get your daily dose of vitamin B12 (as well as other B vitamins) through meat, fish, and grains consumption, but if you’re also on a plant-based diet, that’s where things start to get a bit tricky.
- Protein. The easy option is choosing plant-based “milk” like soy, hemp, or almond milk. Other non-dairy sources of protein include tofu, spirulina, and even nuts and seeds.
Any diet has its fair share of benefits and drawbacks, which is why ultimately, most health experts would recommend a well-balanced eating habit. However, certain lifestyles and health problems do mandate the need for specialized eating programs, and going dairy-free just happens to solve many lifelong headaches for some people.
If you feel like being on a dairy-free diet can help improve the quality of your life, you should read up on what to expect, what you should avoid, and, more importantly, how it would affect your health.