Do you know what can happen to your body when you give up dairy?
If you are thinking about cutting out dairy foods, get ready to experience a lot of effects on your body, both good and bad. Unless you don’t have a strong reason to give up a food group—such as an allergy or a desire for a vegan diet—most dietitians wouldn’t recommend doing so.
That’s because each food group will fuel your body with different vital nutrients that are necessary for your body to work at full capacity and for you to have a healthy and balanced life.
However, if you want to give up dairy for good or just for a short period of time, it’s important to know what your body could respond to. We’ve talked to a few dietitians from Florida, and they told us everything you might be experiencing after making this lifestyle change.
Without further ado, if you want to give up dairy, here’s what will happen to your body and why:
1. Bloating will be gone
According to the US National Library of Medicine, roughly 65% of the world’s population has a hard time digesting milk. What’s interesting is that even if you weren’t officially diagnosed as lactose intolerant, you might still have a milk sensitivity.
The reason why that happens is because plenty of people lack lactase, the enzyme needed to properly digest cow’s milk. If you give up dairy, you might notice that your digestion improves, which can lead to feeling less bloated.
However, some people might experience the reverse effect, and instead of feeling lighter and better after this major lifestyle change, they could feel even more bloated as a result. That’s because their bodies might take more time to get used to the change in diet, so the bloat will come as a side reaction to that.
2. Fewer headaches
Tyramine is a natural chemical that’s often found in those delicious cheeses you might love and is responsible for headaches. People who eat too much cheese can experience the side effects of tyramine, meaning headaches and migraines.
If you have problems with headaches and can barely tolerate them, you might find that taking a break from dairy foods such as cheese can have a positive effect.
However, there are always two sides to a story, and in this case, some people might experience the opposite effect. Dairy products are rich in vitamin B2, and a deficiency of this vitamin is also associated with the possible side effects of migraines.
If you do decide to give up dairy, make sure you get enough B2 throughout the day. You can take this vitamin by consuming plenty of spinach, mushrooms, and almonds, and if that’s not enough, you can talk to your doctor about taking supplements.
3. You can get sick more easily
You might notice that your immune system becomes noticeably weaker when you decide to give up dairy. Your immune system needs vitamin B12 to function properly and to protect you from germs and bacteria.
If you lack the B12 vitamin, you’re more likely to get colds, flu, and other illnesses, so make sure you eat plenty of foods that are rich in this nutrient, such as beef, eggs, chicken, liver, salmon, shellfish, and nutritional yeast, or talk to your doctor to see if you need to take supplements.
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4. Your gut health can suffer
Better digestion is one thing, but eliminating dairy doesn’t ensure that your gut health will improve either. There are many different kinds of bacteria in the digestive system, both beneficial and harmful. If you want to give up dairy, you might be losing probiotics and good bacteria that are typically found in dairy products like kefir and natural Greek yogurt.
Whatever the reason may be for your desire to cut off dairy, keep in mind that you still need to consume foods that are rich in the nutrients and vitamins your body needs daily. So opt for dairy-free yogurts that still contain live active cultures, and maybe take some probiotic tablets to help keep the gut stable.
5. You might have better skin
One of the main reasons people decide to give up dairy is because they want to achieve clear and healthier skin. While cow’s milk is delicious and nutritious, it often contains hormones, which might negatively interact with the hormones in your body, causing an increase in sebum production and therefore ending with clogged pores.
While many people said that cutting our dairy helped them have better-looking and healthier skin, researchers say that they still need to run some tests to discover more about the connection between skin problems and diet.
Don’t forget that if you want to maintain the health of your skin and keep any potential outbreaks at bay, you need to consume plenty of healthy foods that are rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
6. You might lack important nutrients
As we’ve previously said, every food group is important if you want to be healthy and strong. Just like fats, protein, and starchy carbohydrates, dairy can be an important part of your diet.
Besides vitamins B and B12, dairy products are also rich in vitamin D and calcium, so if you want to give up dairy, you need to make sure that you won’t be missing essential nutrients from your diet.
If you eat fish, consume sardines, salmon, winter squash, almonds, tofu, and edamame, which are good sources of calcium, as well as mackerel, egg yolks, red meat, liver, spinach, kale, and white beans are rich in vitamin D.
7. You might have more energy
The majority of foods available at restaurants or grocery stores contain dairy products, such as creamy pasta, pizza, pastries, coffees, and desserts, so when you decide to give up dairy, you might realize that you need to change your food choices to fit your new lifestyle.
We said that cutting out dairy means that you need to include healthier foods in your diet so that you can get all those amazing nutrients your body needs, so that you fuel your body with everything it needs.
Those new choices will fuel your body with energy because your plate will be packed with tasty, fresh, and amazing things for both your brain and your body. That’s a win-win!
8. You might experience a withdrawal period
As with most things, you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms if you completely give up dairy. When your body no longer receives the things it was used to, it will need time to adjust.
It’s possible to feel more tired than usual or to start craving things that contain dairy, and you might even experience problems falling asleep. If you feel terrible, make sure you talk to your doctor about these major changes in your diet, but if there’s nothing to worry about, your body won’t take too long to get used to the change, so be patient.
You won’t believe the next thing that happens in your body when you give up dairy!
9. Your moods can become more stable
Who thought that this one would be so interesting? Cow’s milk has a high concentration of hormones, including progesterone and estrogen, which your body absorbs as a bi-product when you eat dairy products.
Combining these hormones with those in your body can lead to mood swings. However, you might notice that you feel more balanced and tranquil throughout the day when you take a break or give up dairy, but it might not work for everyone.
10. Your body can lack protein
Dairy products are a good source of protein, a macronutrient that is necessary for both muscular growth and the well-being of your bones, organs, and tissues.
While you can get the required amount of protein from other meals, such as fish, lean meat, tofu, soy, nuts, seeds, quinoa, and tempeh, you might need to pay more attention to this nutrient if you give up dairy. Make an effort to consume more foods high in protein, including quinoa and almonds.
If you can’t hit the right amount of protein you need each day, you can talk to your doctor about adding protein powder to your diet. There are plenty of options available today, and if you want to give up dairy, you should stay away from whey. However, there are delicious vegan proteins out there too, made from soy, hemp, and peas, for instance.
Would you consider cutting off dairy? If you’ve tried it before, leave a comment below and share your experience with us! If you find this article helpful and you’d love to read something else from Nutrition in USA, here’s another great post for you: 8 Healthy Fast Food Meals You Can Order Guilt-Free