The Impossible Guide to Dairy
Table of Contents
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about dairy. Here we go.
- What Is Dairy?
- Health Benefits of Dairy
- Consuming Dairy
- High-Fat Dairy vs. Low-Fat Dairy
- Lactose Intolerance
- What If I’m Lactose Intolerant?
- Types of Dairy
- Insulin & Dairy
- What about Soy Alternatives?
- Alternative Sources of Calcium
What Is Dairy?
Dairy products are foods or foodstuffs made from milk that retain their calcium content.
Health Benefits of Dairy
The health benefits of dairy include:
- Improved bone health
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis
- Adolescent growth encouraged
- Reduced risk of cardio disease and type 2 diabetes
- Lower blood pressure
As well as offering these health benefits, dairy just tastes freaking great.
Some dairy is better and easier for some people to consume than other forms of dairy. Because this differs from person to person, you’ll have to experiment a little for yourself to see how your body reacts to it.
High-Fat vs. Low-Fat Dairy
The CDC and USDA actually promote the consumption of low-fat dairy products (skim milk, 1%, etc.) based on the ideas that the high-fat stuff has a bad relationship with cholesterol and that consuming dairy with a high fat content makes it easier to consume too many calories (and make you get fat).
However, these bodies fail to account for the fact that the satiety levels of fat are much higher than they are for junk food (you feel fuller from eating less). They also fail to appreciate that many people can eat cholesterol without it negatively affecting their cholesterol levels.
Fat isn’t as bad for you as most people think. The healthy fats found in whole milk, cheeses, and yogurt are not only delicious but they’ve also been proven to have numerous health benefits, including increased energy levels and a reduction in the amount you consume afterward you consume them, due to higher levels of satiation. Healthy fats also help improve your body’s ability to access and use stored fat for fuel.
When a person’s body has a shortage of an enzyme called lactase – the enzyme that breaks down lactose -, that person is said to have lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance causes bloating, cramps, gas, diarrhoea, and sometimes vomiting. It’s not a lot of fun.
Those who are lactose intolerant usually have much better luck with dairy products that have been fermented in some way, for example butter, cheese, and yogurt), as those forms have had much more lactose removed from them than milk has.
Approximately one in three people is lactose intolerant, so if you’re one of them, you’ll want to stay away from straight milk.
What If I’m Lactose Intolerant?
Then don’t drink milk! It won’t be fun. Trust us. There are lots of other dairy options below.
Types of Dairy
There are several types of dairy products:
- Fat-free (skim)
- Low-fat (1%)
- Reduced-fat (2%)
Hard natural cheese:
- Whole milk
Due to their high sugar content, you’ll want to limit your intake of these.
- Ice milk
- Frozen yogurt
- Ice cream
Insulin & Dairy
Dairy causes a very high insulin response (it’s very insulinogenic). Over time, high insulin levels reduce your body’s ability to burn fat. Diabetics and those trying to lose weight should stick to consuming fermented forms of dairy (cheese, yogurt, and butter).
Goat’s milk is a good option. It contains more fat and less lactose and casein than cow milk, which may make it more suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. This may be because it’s much closer to human breast milk than cow’s milk is.
What about Soy Alternatives?
What about soy alternatives to dairy like the ones listed below?
- Soy milk
- Soy cheese
- Soy yogurt
- Soy anything
Don’t eat ’em. Soy contains a load of things that aren’t great for you, mostly in terms of hormones. Soy contains phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen. They have been known to lower testosterone levels in men and to raise estrogen levels in women, leading to disastrous consequences (high estrogen levels are linked to cancer).
In short, stay away from soy.
If you’re looking for a dairy alternative that’s not soy, try unflavored almond milk. If you’re just looking for alternative sources of calcium, consider some of the options below. Your hormones will thank us.
Alternative Sources of Calcium
- Orange juice – 300g
- Almond milk – 200g
- Baked beans – 126g
- Dried figs – 121g
- Kale – 94g
- Dairy – Choose My Plate
- Dairy Product – Wikipedia
- The Definitive Guide to Dairy – Mark’s Daily Apple
- Dairy’s Health Benefits – National Dairy Council
- Dairy and Its Effect on Insulin Secretion – Mark’s Daily Apple
- Finding Alternative Sources of Calcium – For Dummies
- Is This The Most Dangerous Food for Men? – Men’s Health
- Scrutinizing Soy – Mark’s Daily Apple