Should You Cut out Dairy?

I love cheese and ice cream as much as anyone else, but I recently went vegan for a week and I noticed something that made me second guess my love of dairy products. One of the biggest changes that I noticed at the end of the week was my skin. I hadn’t changed up my skincare routine at all, but it was completely clear. This got me thinking - what could other benefits of cutting out dairy be? 

One of them, as I already said, is improvements in the skin. According to Health Magazine, the hormones found in dairy could trigger hormonal acne. The key word there is could - not all experts agree that dairy causes acne, and it most likely depends on the person. For me, cutting out or reducing dairy in my diet improves my skin, but that doesn’t mean it will have the same effect for everyone.

Another possible benefit is that cutting out dairy could make you feel better. For people with lactose or dairy intolerance, eating dairy can cause bloating and stomach pain. Lactose intolerance is actually a lot more common than you might think - according to the US National Library of Medicine, about 65% of people have a decreased ability to digest dairy products as they get older. Even if you weren’t lactose intolerant when you were younger, you might become less tolerant to lactose as you age.

One of the issues with cutting out dairy products is getting enough vitamins and minerals, specifically calcium. There are other sources of calcium besides dairy, including beans, nuts, leafy greens and calcium-fortified foods (like a lot of cereals). You can also take calcium supplements, but you should ask a doctor before you start taking supplements.

Another thing I want to point out is that cutting out dairy will NOT automatically make you lose weight or be “healthier.” That all depends on the foods you are eating and what you decide to replace dairy products with. Obviously, if you have an intolerance to dairy, cutting it out will improve your health, but it’s not a magical solution to all health problems.

Cutting out dairy can definitely have its benefits, but it all really depends on the individual. Eating less dairy could help improve your skin and your digestion, but it might not. If you think dairy might be causing you problems, I would recommend eliminating it from your diet for a few weeks and then seeing how you feel. If you notice a lot of positive changes, a dairy-free (or reduced dairy) diet might be right for you!

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