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Dietitians reveal reveal what REALLY happens to your body when you cut out dairy

Two Australian dietitians have shared what can happen to your body when dairy is removed from your diet.

Nutritionist Laura Ford, from Melbourne, said dairy products contain nutrients such as protein and calcium as well as a range of essential vitamins and minerals.

Sydney dietitian and author Lyndi Cohen added everyone has a ‘different threshold’ to dairy, with some being completely intolerant and choose to avoid consuming dairy completely. 

‘It’s quite difficult to diagnose lactose or dairy intolerances, although removing dairy completely from a diet without seeking medical advice isn’t recommended,’ she said.

But those with intolerances may experience health benefits when living a dairy-free diet.

Two Australian dietitians have shared what can happen to your body when dairy is removed from a diet

Two Australian dietitians have shared what can happen to your body when dairy is removed from a diet

Can reduce bloating 

Along with beans, onions and certain beverages, dairy is another food product that’s commonly known to cause bloating for some people. 

According to research conducted by Genetics Home Reference, 65 per cent of the population cannot digest the lactose dairy contains, which often leads to bloating.

Those who are sensitive to lactose in dairy often lack the enzyme called lactase which is required to digest lactose.

Laura said bloating could be due to a lactose intolerance and an ‘inability to effectively break lactose down’.

‘This isn’t an issue with dairy itself, but is due to a lack in the production of the enzyme lactase which acts to break down lactose,’ she said.

‘Reducing dairy will mean less bloating because your body is able to produce enough lactase to break down the lactose for your intake (whether it’s a small amount or none).

‘Gradually increasing your dairy intake gives your body the chance to adapt to eating more dairy as over time your body produces more lactase – this is also why you may feel bloated after having a big cheese platter,’ she said.

Nutritionist Laura Ford (pictured) said dairy products contain nutrients such as protein and calcium as well as a range of essential vitamins and minerals

Nutritionist Laura Ford (pictured) said dairy products contain nutrients such as protein and calcium as well as a range of essential vitamins and minerals

Sydney dietitian and author Lyndi Cohen (pictured) added everyone has a 'different threshold' to dairy products, with some people being completely intolerant and choose to avoid consuming dairy

Sydney dietitian and author Lyndi Cohen (pictured) added everyone has a ‘different threshold’ to dairy products, with some people being completely intolerant and choose to avoid consuming dairy

May improve skin condition 

Both experts said research has been conducted to show links between dairy consumption and acne, but these studies are ongoing and inconclusive.

Laura said as both skincare and dieting are very personal, it’s important to look at diet as a whole before factoring dairy as the issue.

‘It’s essential to look at the whole diet, not just dairy alone and what other foods are being removed or added in,’ she said.

‘Looking at your skincare routine and talking to a dermatologist would be my first recommendation as things like hormones can play a key role in skin health.’

Lyndi added rather than removing dairy from a diet all together, consider ‘the load’ and frequency in which it’s being consumed.

‘Some people feel better or experience fewer symptoms when they have small amounts of dairy and the start and end of each day, rather than a large amount all at once,’ she said. 

Whereas some with intolerances may experience an increase in clearer skin.  

Both experts said research has been conducted to show links between dairy consumption and acne, but these studies are ongoing and inconclusive

Both experts said research has been conducted to show links between dairy consumption and acne, but these studies are ongoing and inconclusive

The positives and negatives of cutting out dairy 

Positives:  

Cutting out dairy may ease discomfort among those with intolerances and sensitivities

Some individuals may experience less bloating, diarrhoea, constipation or period pain  

A dairy-free diet is safe and not associated to health risks

Substitute alternative foods are generally available 

Not everyone needs to remove dairy from their diet, usually only those will allergies or intolerances should do so 

Negatives:  

The body can be deprived of certain nutrients if food alternatives or supplements aren’t consumed  

Some milk substitutes and other dairy-free items are more expensive than their dairy counterparts

Strictly avoiding dairy can be challenging 

Requires thorough planning to meet nutritional needs 

Who should cut out dairy? 

Those who have been diagnosed with a lactose intolerance or are allergic to dairy products, such as milk, cheese or yoghurt 

Supplements: 

Speak to your doctor before taking supplements, but vitamin D and lactase enzyme supplements can be consumed in the absence of dairy 

Source: Very Well Fit 

May reduce headaches 

The idea that dairy can cause headaches is quite a controversial topic, as some people may be prone to this symptom and others aren’t.

Both experts said there is no strong evidence for this in the general population, however if people are sensitive or intolerant to dairy products may find reducing dairy will affect headaches.

‘Headaches could be linked to glutamates (naturally occurring MSG) in aged cheese but there needs to be a prior sensitivity to this as it won’t affect everyone,’ Laura said.

If people are sensitive or intolerant to dairy products they may find reducing dairy will cause a decrease in headaches

If people are sensitive or intolerant to dairy products they may find reducing dairy will cause a decrease in headaches

Possible impact on gut health and immune system 

If dairy is completely removed from a diet, this can cause the immune system and gut to weaken as the body is being deprived of added probiotics and nutrients.

‘Removing dairy can have an impact on gut health as fermented dairy products like yoghurt, culture drinks and kefir contain live active bacterial cultures that have demonstrated health benefits to the gut microflora,’ Laura said.  

It’s best to purchase supplements to ensure the gut and immune system are still receiving these nutrients while on a dairy-free or low dairy diet. 










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