5 Interesting Health Changes To Expect If You Suddenly Stop Eating Dairy
If you're ditching the cheese, you might want to listen up. You may not know what to expect when quitting dairy but you could be in for a few unexpected body changes that can definitely alter the way you feel in the day, until your body gets used to it. When you choose to cut out dairy, your body might be taken aback at first, as you are eliminating a food group that you may have been eating heavy amounts of before. (Between milk, cheese, and yogurt, there's plenty of dairy to go around.) Ultimately your body knows best, so if it's having bad reactions to dairy, you may want to cut back a bit.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on figuring out what types of eating habits work for them and their lifestyles. By being more attentive to your body's needs, as well as how it responds to food choices, it can make you more aware of what gives you fuel and what depletes your energy or messes with your digestion. And, dairy is actually a common culprit in digestive woes, among those who are lactose intolerant, or suffering from autoimmune digestive disorders, like Crohn's Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you find dairy to be problematic, it may be time to make readjustments and see if there are any changes. Though, as a cheat sheet, here are five common things that can happen to your body when you decide to stop eating dairy products, according to experts.
1. Your Acne Might Clear Up
Did you know dairy consumption could cause acne?"Milk raises insulin levels...which trigger more oil production in the [sweat] glands, playing a direct role in the proliferation of dead skin cells," David Lortscher, founder of Curology tells Bustle. And when more dead skin is hanging around, pores get clogged, and acne can happen as a result, says Lortscher. You may also see this more if you're a milk drinker. "Not only is the association with acne more defined with skim milk than with whole milk, but also in those consuming more than three portions per week. It is possible that cheese, ice cream, and yogurt may be associated with acne, but the link appears to be stronger with milk," Lortscher says.
To see if dairy is causing your acne, Lortscher suggests to stop consuming dairy for at least two weeks. "That includes milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, and all whey/casein containing products (muscle milk, whey muscle protein, protein bars, etc,)," says Lorstcher. "You can also try cutting out dairy or substituting regular milk for soy or almond milk."
2. You May Be Less Bloated
Bloating is a common complaint among people with dairy sensitivities and allergies, and bloating itself is usually a problem with digestion, Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., author of Eat Dirt, and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition tells Bustle. "For many people, due to excessive gas in the intestines, it can create bloating. There might also be inadequate protein digestion, meaning an inability to break down sugar and carbohydrates fully, which creates imbalances in gut bacteria."
3. You May Have Less Mucus
Say goodbye to phlegm and congestion. "Excessive milk consumption can increase respiratory tract mucus production and lead to asthma," says Axe. "Research shows that [milk] stimulates mucus production from gut glands and respiratory tract glands. Although the research on whether or not milk consumption leads to mucus production is mixed, respiratory symptoms can be associated with dairy allergies or sensitivities, so avoiding dairy can be beneficial."
4. You May Experience Better Digestion
"Ditching dairy can reduce cramps, stomach pain and aches, bloating, gas, diarrhea and nausea," says Axe. "Dairy is a common trigger for IBS and other digestive conditions, leading to symptoms." Without it, you might be able to have smoother bowels and ease in the stomach.
5. You May Lower Risk Of Cancer
Because dairy can be inflammatory, it can lower risk of cancer when you're no longer eating it. "Some research says that milk products may increase your risk of cancer. A 2001 study...found that a high calcium intake, mostly from dairy products, can elevate prostate cancer risk by reducing amounts of a hormone thought to protect against prostate cancer," says Axe. "Milk products might also have contaminants, such as pesticides, which may have carcinogenic qualities, as well as [insulin-like] growth factors...which has been shown to trigger breast cancer cell growth."
If you choose to take out dairy from your lifestyle, you might notice these changes, and perhaps even some benefits over time, too. Of course, dairy can be really essential for some people's diets, and it shouldn't be assumed everyone will have these effects. So, talk with a doctor and go with your body's response in determining if a dairy-free lifestyle is a fit for you.