Can Dairy Cause Issues?

Can Dairy Cause Issues?

If you experience regular bloating, acne flare-ups, unexplained fatigue, painful and noisy indigestion, and constipation, then these might be signs it’s time to cut out the cow products. The idea of removing something as fundamental as dairy seems daunting, and growing up under the impression that milk is the only way to build strong bones, makes it a complex ideology to shake. The fact that dairy products make up most of the yummy foods we all know and love makes it even more difficult and disappointing. However, the vast benefits of dropping dairy-based products make this diet change extremely advantageous in aiding your gastrointestinal health.

Acne is an inflammatory condition. Consuming dairy products further causes inflammation in vital parts of the body like the thyroid and digestive tract, causing uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, and increases the likelihood of Candida overgrowth. A 2018 study surveyed the correlation between dairy intake and acne among just under 80,000 children, adolescents, and young adults. This study found that consuming any dairy increased the likelihood of people aged between 7-30 having acne flare-ups. Many elements to dairy products contribute to this result, such as growth hormones, artificial hormones, and milk hormones found within dairy products. The link between acne and the western diet is no coincidence as it typically includes high levels of milk proteins and foods on the high glycemic index. Acne is more common in western countries and affects around 80% of consumers, which shows that milk itself might not be the problem, but rather the over pasteurization and genetic modifications within it. Eliminating dairy from your diet can improve skin texture, tone and improve skin conditions like acne and rosacea. 

Lactose intolerance affects about 68% of the world’s population. Furthermore, this intolerance is found to be more common in ethnic groups such as people of African, Asian, and Middle Eastern descent. 

Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) Rebecca Tippett believes that, “The most common cause of lactase deficiency is a genetic deficiency. Almost all babies have lactase (enzyme in digestive tract that breaks down active sugar in milk, lactose). It’s a basic survival adaptation to enable them to survive on mother’s milk. However, as we grow older, the enzyme is less necessary, and some people lose the ability to synthesize the enzyme.” For some, human cultivation and dependency on dairy cows have changed this evolutionary process, as some people who consume milk beyond infancy can continue to produce lactase enzymes into their adult years. 

Another reason for this intolerance is believed to stem from our ancestry, according to this Cornell University study. It is said that dairy herding was not attainable for populations who lived in extremely hot/cold climates. Disease also posed a threat to cattle, which is why people living there could not adapt to dairy. People who are related to these ancestors are more likely to be lactose intolerant than other individuals. 

Within the last decade, alternative dairy options have increased exponentially. These options are vitamin-rich and provide a solution for the daunting symptoms of a bowl of cereal that about ⅔ of the world experiences. Alternative dairy options include almond, oat, cashew, and other nut-based milk. These alternatives also promote better hydration as they contain more water content than traditional cow’s milk. The environment also benefits from this switch as less consumption of dairy products lessens the need for cattle, which decreases the amount of methane produced. However, if you need your daily dairy fix, consider purchasing a lactase enzyme that’s typically taken thirty minutes before eating some cheese, ice cream, or buttery foods!

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Dairy and acne: How does diet affect the skin? (n.d.). Retrieved from (2020, August 23). Going nuts about milk? Here’s what you need to know about plant-based milk alternatives. Retrieved from 

Why Are More People Becoming Lactose Intolerant? (n.d.). Retrieved August 19, 2021, from


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