If you’re over 35 and still struggling with acne, it’s time to dump the dairy. The same goes for anyone battling rosacea or other skin issues, as well as gas and bloating or frequent sinus infections.
All of these can be symptoms of lactose and dairy intolerance. While foamy lattes or a dinner smothered in cheese might sound attractive, you’re better off choosing coconut milk, nut ricotta, ghee, and other dairy alternatives.
Dairy intolerance is one of the most common food sensitivities, and it can cause:
Weight gain. Multiple studies prove that if you drink cow’s milk, you gain weight.1 One large-scale research review showed that kids who drank more milk were more likely to struggle with childhood obesity.2 Surprisingly, that wasn’t because of the increased calories – the children most affected were those who drank lower calorie skim and 1% milk. Because of the hormones and lactose in milk, it makes you fat, even when it’s fat-free!
Insulin resistance. Cow’s milk is relatively low on the glycemic index, which leads many to believe it’s safe for blood glucose issues. (Yet another reason why I dislike the glycemic index system…) However, dairy does affect insulin production, which means it raises your chances of developing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can mean type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and a host of other serious health issues.3
Acne or other skin problems. Cow’s milk contains hormones that cause your oil glands to increase production, putting you at risk for skin breakouts and irritation.4 In fact, dairy is so often responsible for acne that going dairy-free is frequently the first recommendation dermatologists make when patients are faced with problem skin.
Osteoporosis. This one can come as a shock if you’ve seen dairy industry ads that equate drinking milk with strong bones. Although dairy is a great source of calcium, it’s also highly acidic, which poses a danger to bone health. Research proves that milk drinkers are much more likely to suffer from osteoporosis and bone fractures.5 Better to opt for safer sources of calcium: flaxseed, leafy greens like spinach or kale, sesame seeds, walnuts, or wild-caught fish such as salmon or sardines.
Dairy can also pose an extra danger for those with autoimmune disease. It’s already been linked to multiple sclerosis,6 and I recommend anyone with a family history of autoimmune disease or elevated ANA levels (antinuclear antibodies) avoid dairy and its potentially inflammatory effects.
Ready to phase out dairy? Try our recipes section for dozens of delicious dairy-free options! And if you don't suffer from a dairy intolerance or autoimmune issues, be sure to choose organic, full-fat dairy from grass-fed cows.
For more help determining whether you have a dairy sensitivity, you can download the free guide 7 Swaps for 7 Foods for Results in 7 Days.
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