Its the wild wild west out there when it comes to nutrition advice, so I am going to clear up dairy for you
On my instagram I asked the question, what is a health tid bit that lives rent free in your head but you’re not sure if its even true or not and majority of the tid bits involved…. you guessed it
Question 1: Is dairy bad?
I love this question so deeply, because anyone who just simply says no its not, or yes dairy is bad, simply put, is doing you a disservice and they are being foolish.
So lets UNPACK the heck out this one
First of all, you know I do my absolute best to never shine a heavy spotlight on one food and in a blanket statement tell everyone to stop eating it. Part of that reasons is because I never want you to feel fearful of a food. I instead, want you to understand all angles to view that food at, so that you can decide where you land on if that particular food is something you choose to have in your diet whenever you want it, or not. This ensures we don’t attach morals to food, no food is good or bad, morality is a human trait and last time I checked, unless you’re buying some futuristic produce, food cannot have morals attached to it.
Foods can have facts attached to them.
Dairy contains lactose, thats a FACT.
Some dairy products contain less lactose than others, thats a FACT.
So if dairy cannot be good or bad, lets pivot this question to what is should truly be
"Is eating dairy right for me, right now?"
Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself and trying to answer.
Are you lactose intolerant?
This is the big heavy hitter here…
ARE YOU LACTOSE INTOLERANT?
because the lactose intolerant folks, that are still eating dairy do happen to be the ones that experience negative gastrointestinal effects of dairy.
The most obvious symptom being looser poops .. BUT … not everyone who is lactose intolerance will have looser poops. You can be constipated and have lactose intolerance and instead experience IBS type abdominal symptoms!
Are you constipated?
I had to add this since treating constipation is my zone of genius, and this is a common question I see .. could it be dairy?
The only group of humans that we know can become constipated from certain dairy is children with a cows milk allergy.
Otherwise, in the human trials we actually have, it seems that dairy intake does not increase the risk of constipation, in fact it may protect against it… yes I said it!
We have one trial with FODMAPs that shows a slight correlation to lactose and constipation symptoms in IBS, and anecdotally, it is the most common food intolerance I see in the constipation community. Do with that what you may, but I think it is important to note we really don’t have clear enough data to say its a fact the dairy intake is harming or helping chronic constipation!
Are you trying to reduce your saturated fat intake?
All animal products are going to contain significantly higher levels of saturated fat then plant products will.
We care about saturated fat because we have enough data to say too much saturated fat in the diet may increase risk of all cause mortality and cardiovascular disease risk because it increases levels of apoB in the blood. ie. we care about saturated fat for longevity purposes.
Does this mean you should start tanking your saturated fat intake and run from dairy like your life depends on it? NO
But maybe, if this peaks your interest, you can get your ApoB levels tested via a very simple blood test and see if this is maybe a target you may want to work on reducing!
Are you worried about your cardiovascular disease risk?
Does dairy contain higher levels of saturated fat than your nut milk and veggies? For sure.
Does that mean that all dairy automatically increases cardiovascular disease risk? Absolutely not.
In fact, in certain circumstances we see dairy intake become protective
Do you have acne?
It seems that dairy milk increases the likelihood of experiencing acne by about 44%.
This relationship is what we call dose dependent .. meaning, we only see this increased risk if you have a specific amount of dairy, then that risk slowly declines as your intake of dairy milk declines
The magic amount to stay under seems to be 2 glasses per day.
I personally have this experience with ice cream and cheese, and it is very clearly a dose dependent response for me. I can have ice cream or cheese once .. but three days in a row? I will get a bit of acne in response. I know this for ME because I have tested it out on myself. What exists for me, may not exist for you, test it out for yourself, don’t just take my word for it!
Are you sensitive to casein?
Milk contains a couple different types of proteins, mainly
WHEY & CASEIN
Yes this is the same whey as in your whey protein powder.
If you are familiar with the debate that dairy doesn’t bother people stomach in Europe like it does in North America, the theory behind this is the type of CASEIN protein (A1 vs A2) that is in the milk due to the different type of cows.
We do have some human data showing that A2 casein predominant diary tends to cause less gastrointestinal symptoms that A1 casein! We think it is because A1 casein gets broken down and digested in the stomach so quickly, and A2 casein doesn’t.
What is not on my list of things I care about in regards to dairy
Hormones in the milk
Sugar in the milk
That milk contains fat
That its dairy (lol)
That it will give me SIBO or dysbiosis (i’ll cover this one in a different blog)
What I am totally unqualified to speak to
The environmental impacts of dairy consumption
SOS I just read this whole blog and now I REALLY don't know if I should eat dairy or not
If this is you right now … you’re in the sweet spot of either
A) I am going to doctor google this
B) I am willing to consult a professional on this matter
My personal belief that if something is potentially messing with your relationship with a food, or a food group, it is best to consult the option this isn’t going to generate FEAR, CONFUSION or FOOD MORALS. If you can get that from Dr. Google, have at it, if you feel you can’t, consulting a professional seems more aligned for your needs
If you would like to work with me, here are your options:
This option provides us a lot of one on one time to talk through your lived experience in your body, your goals and what those goals actually look like in your life, and create you a plan that works with your lifestyle!
This link will send you to me schedule to book a complementary 30 minute chat with me. This option is for chronically constipated women only!! Joining this community is truly special, and hiring me to coach you through your chronic condition is a complete honour.