The latest celebrity fad is a dairy-free diet but is it something we should all consider giving up? Priyanka Elhence takes a closer look at dairy and what it means for our body.
Remember the calcium mantra growing up? You must have lots of milk and cheese so that your bones grow healthy and strong, and you stay protected from conditions like osteoporosis and brittle bones in your ripe old age.
Fast forward forty years and now dairy has joined the ranks of becoming the latest dietary no-no. In fact, celebrities have slowly but surely been shunning dairy, strongly believing that it is the cause behind daily problems such as acne, bloating, heartburn, bad skin, low energy and weight gain.
But, will ditching dairy be better for your body and skin, and really give you that hourglass figure you desire? Well, it seems to work for gorgeous women like Victoria Beckham, Megan Fox and Beyonce.
But before you put a hold on all things milky and creamy, read on to see what you can expect from a dairy-free diet.
Health benefits of a dairy-free diet
Yes, a dairy-free diet will go a long way in helping those that are lactose-intolerant and those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. If the lactose is not broken down, it ferments in the gut, causing various digestive issues such as bloating. Go off dairy and you will most likely find that your eczema and hay fever conditions clear up quite quickly too.
Luckily, there are more than enough dairy-free food options available today than a few years ago, so if regular cows milk doesn’t suit you, consider trying alternatives such as almond or soya milk.
However, contrary to popular belief, it is a myth that cutting out dairy will automatically lead to weight loss. Sure, cheese, butter and milk are naturally high in fat, so reducing the quantity (and calories!) you eat will naturally have an impact on your weight. But, if you want to lose weight and be healthy, you’ll need to eliminate empty calories found in sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates too, as well as reduce your intake of high-fat dairy products.
Read: These 5 cheese dishes are guaranteed to make your kids drool!
So, is it a good thing to take away these high-fat foods from our diet?
The truth is, dairy is a rich source of fat and protein for the body, helping us feel satisfied for longer because it takes more time to digest in our bellies. Without dairy, the lack of hunger-quelling fat and protein in our system is likely to lead us to crave unhealthy sugar and simple carbohydrate quick fix snacks like chips, chocolate and cakes. And thus the vicious cycle of over-eating and weight gain continues.
Hunting down Calcium
Does this mean that we are bound to milk for life? Not in the least. Adults typically require a daily intake of 700-1000mg of calcium in their diets. But gone are the days when it was considered that milk and dairy were the only source of calcium.
These days, you can get your calcium requirements from a multitude of dairy-free foods, like fish, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Plus you will most probably also need to take Vitamin D supplements to help make the most of the calcium you ingest.
So apart from just feeling better and perhaps losing weight, what else do we need to consider in a dairy-free diet:
- Poor Digestion – yes, we just said that less dairy will help with those who are lactose-intolerance. But remember that yoghurt is a vital source of probiotics, which promote good digestion in the gut. So cutting out dairy could result in you simply cutting out the bacteria that helps make your gut healthy and strong. The alternative is to supplement your diet with probiotic drinks.
- Better Skin – milk could be the culprit behind every pimple you have, as it contains testosterone-like hormones that could cause oil glands to work overtime, causing inflammation and breaking down elastin and collagen in the skin. Furthermore, all milk (even organic and hormone-free versions) contains fat and sugar – two things that are not kind to complexion.
- Better allergies – dairy stimulates mucus creation, so cutting it out can mean less allergies – good news for hayfever sufferers!
Read: Get inspired by the Fit Moms of Instagram
So, what do you think is best? Is eating dairy ok or should we all follow the likes of Kourtney Kardashian and give it the heave-ho? Tell us more in the comments below.
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Written for Parents World by Priyanka Elhence. Priyanka is a busy mom of 9 yr old twin boys. She writes on anything from lifestyle and dining to parenting and celebrity profiles.