What are the dairy free diet benefits? Is cow milk really that bad for you? Let’s see why so many have decided to ditch dairy products.
Have you heard that dairy can be bad for health? Wondering what the benefits of a dairy-free diet are? You’re not alone. More and more people are realizing that they may have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy products.
In fact, the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine states 25 percent of all people in the U.S.–and a whopping 75 percent worldwide–are lactose sensitive or intolerant. The enzyme that breaks down milk sugar, lactase, loses its ability to break down lactose almost immediately after weaning off breast milk.
For those that can digest lactose and other sources of dairy with no problem, eating grass-fed/pasture-raised butter, cheese, raw milk, can be part of a nutritious diet.
But for millions of people who have trouble digesting dairy, the dairy free diet benefits may be quite noticeable.
The benefits of going dairy-free may include:
- Less overall inflammation
- Clearer skin
- Reduced chance of autoimmune reactions
- Better digestion/elimination
- Enhanced cognition and focus
- Weight loss
- Decreased cancer risk
- Minimized risk of osteoporosis
Dairy Free Diet Benefits: Less Chance of Ovarian Cancer?
A study published in the International Journal of Cancer reviewed whether lactose consumption was a risk factor for epithelial ovarian cancer. The researchers hypothesized that the increase in cancer risk is attributable to lactose’s toxic effects of its metabolites.
The study involved over 80,000 participants in the so-called “Nurses’ Health Study.” The participants had no history of cancer other than nonmelanoma skin cancer. The researcher’s findings provided some support for the hypothesis that lactose intake increases risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.
The women who consumed at least one serving of nonfat or low-fat milk per day increased their chances by a third of developing any ovarian cancer. They also increased their chances by over two-thirds of developing serous (the fluid) ovarian cancer. These statistics were compared to women who consumed less than 4 servings per month of milk.
What’s interesting about the study is that not only is whole-fat milk implicated in ovarian cancer, but now, so, too, is low-fat and fat-free milk. Some researchers suggest that the way the milk sugars break down over-stimulates the ovaries, leading to the growth of cancer cells.
Is Dairy Bad for Bones?
Remember the slogan, “Milk … it does a body good?” It’s perhaps one of the best advertising headlines of the modern ad age. If it were created in the 1960s, we could easily picture Don Draper, one of the ad exec characters on the hit TV show “Mad Men” sitting around a conference table coming up with the diabolical headline.
But another large study, this one involving almost 80,000 women in the famous Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, concluded: “Women consuming greater amounts of calcium from dairy foods had significantly increased risks of hip fractures, while no increase in fracture risk was observed for the same levels of calcium from nondairy sources.”
Wait. Stop the presses! Isn’t milk (and dairy) supposed to do a body good, meaning, that because of the high amount of calcium, it’s good for our bones.
Though the direct evidence linking dairy to osteoporosis is still not 100% clear, researchers have some theories. And the theories seem to have some merit, considering countries with the highest per capita dairy consumption—England, Sweden, Finland, USA—also had the highest incidences of osteoporosis. Scientists speculate that phosphorus in dairy may interfere with calcium absorption. So even if you chug the previously-recommended 4 glasses of milk per day, all that bone-building calcium is not getting absorbed in the body.
Furthermore, certain amino acids that contain sulphur may leach calcium from the bones. The conclusion: you may be better off eating plant-based sources of foods that have calcium, such as spinach and other leafy green veggies.
Is There a Link Between Acne and Dairy?
A Norwegian study shows an association between high intakes of dairy products and acne in adolescence. The overall prevalence of moderate to severe acne was 13.9%. Intakes of more than two glasses per day of full-fat dairy products were associated with moderate to severe acne.
Whether dairy is good or bad for the skin is still up for debate. It shouldn’t be ignored that fatty foods and added sugars may be more responsible for acne than dairy. Or, at least, just as culpable. But, it is one of the dairy free diet benefits to consider.
Conclusion: Anecdotal evidence is important, too
Keep in mind that other studies don’t show a strong association between dairy consumption and acne. But anecdotal evidence should not be ignored. There are many cases where people report having better skin complexion upon giving dairy up after even a brief period. And some of the other possible dairy free diet benefits listed above have been experienced by many people after giving up dairy products. So, you may want to reconsider consuming things like butter, milk, cheese, and ice cream.
If you are allergic or sensitive to dairy, you may benefit from giving it up entirely. That’s because when you consume dairy, your body’s immune system will be over-stimulated. Prolonged overstimulation may give rise to an autoimmune disorder. That’s one dairy free diet benefit that’s certainly worth it.
Keep in mind, if you’re trying to manage your blood sugar levels, dairy can cause high insulin responses, yet another reason to ditch dairy.