This amazing guest post was written by Dr. Simone Burke, a Naturopathic Doctor. You can check out her website here!
Are you confused as to whether dairy is good for you or not? Deciphering through all the details can leave you wondering whether to ditch the dairy or add more in. So what is the truth? It depends! Here are some of the things to know about.
There are some components of dairy that can cause problems depending on an individual’s sensitivities and allergies. These are lactose, casein, and whey. Also, the way milk is processed, the hormones found in dairy, added sugars, pesticides and antibiotics often found in dairy have an impact too.
Many people are intolerant to lactose as they lack the enzyme lactase which is necessary for the lactose to be broken down into glucose and galactose. These simple sugars are then absorbed in the small intestine. If the enzyme is lacking and lactose is not broken down, then lactose is not absorbed.
Instead, it binds to water and is carried to the large intestine. This extra water causes diarrhea. Also, bacteria in the intestines along with undigested lactose set the stage for fermentation. The result is gas, bloating, and acidic bowel movements.
Casein and Whey
Casein and whey are both proteins found in milk. It is possible to have an allergy to either one or both of these proteins. The allergic reaction triggers histamine and causes symptoms such as swelling of the lips, face or tongue, skin reactions such as red itching skin, rash, or hives, nasal congestion, and sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing or wheezing.
The Way Dairy Is Processed
The way dairy is processed changes many potential benefits of dairy. Unless it is raw milk, dairy is typically pasteurized and homogenized.
Pasteurization is the process of heating the milk so that all pathogens are destroyed. The problem with this is that this process also kills the beneficial bacteria (that we use as probiotics) and damages the vitamins, minerals as well as changes the structure of the milk proteins.
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Homogenization is a high-pressure process which breaks down fat particles so that they are suspended and give a creamy consistency. The issue is that fat put under heat and pressure goes rancid. Studies have shown that homogenized products are linked to rising rates of heart disease and cancer.
Hormones are also found in milk, in fact, dairy has been found to have over 60 different hormones that occur naturally. In addition, some farms give their cows hormones that also make their way into the dairy. Consuming additional hormones can wreck havoc with your own hormones and put additional stress on your liver which is responsible for processing it all.
So with all of this information what do you do? Here are some general guidelines which vary from person to person and of course depend on any intolerances/sensitivities or allergies you have to lactose, casein or whey.
6 Dairy Products To Avoid
- Milk, especially if you are can’t digest lactose or are sensitive to casein or whey but also due to the processing of the milk and the presence of hormones
- Processed cheese is a food product made from cheese and contains emulsifiers, saturated vegetable oils, salt and food coloring.
- Cream cheese is high in cholesterol and saturated fats. The reduced and low-fat versions have even more additives such as artificial coloring, flavoring, carrageenan, potassium sorbate, sodium phosphate and many other additives.
- Flavored yogurt tends to be high in sugar and may contain added fructose, glucose, and sucrose. In addition, most contain pureed fruits instead of real fruit delivering a lot of sugar but with little or no vitamin C.
- Ice-cream is high in saturated fat and sugar. High fructose corn syrup is typically used along with flavorings,
- Non-organic whey in protein bars is loaded with hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides that are found in dairy.
Eat These Dairy Foods in Moderation
Aged cheeses are often digested by those who are lactose intolerant due to the small lactose content in hard aged cheese such as parmesan. Aged cheese is high in vitamin K2.
Pasteurization is not necessary as the lactic acid in the fermentation process destroys the bad bacteria but leaves the good bacteria leading to higher probiotic levels. In addition, enzymes from raw milk are kept intact during the aging process and so are richer in enzymes.
Plain yogurt is not high in sugar. It contains probiotics and is a source of protein.
Sour cream has been fermented so is higher in probiotics. It is still on the moderate list as it is dairy and there are many additives such as gelatin, rennet, guar gum, and carrageenan.
5 Dairy Products You Can Eat
These are the dairy products that have significant health benefits. Eat these freely.
Ghee is made from butter, but the milk solids and impurities have been removed. People who are intolerant to lactose, casein or whey often find they are fine with ghee.
It is rich in medium chain fatty acids like those found in coconut oil and is also high in butyric acid which is beneficial and healing to the intestines. Ghee is rich in K2 and CLA as well as great for supporting the immune system.
Make your own Ghee – click here!
2. Grass-Fed Butter
Grass fed cows produce high levels of vitamin K2 which lowers heart disease risk and helps with metabolism of calcium. In addition, butter from grass-fed cows is higher in omega 3’s which is anti-inflammatory and supports the joints, heart, and overall health.
Kefir is a cultured dairy product that is high in probiotics, B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, and enzymes. Adding kefir to your diet is a great way to support gut health, balance the immune system, support detoxification and increase overall health and vitality.
Make your own kefir – try this amazing Golden Milk Kefir Recipe!
Buttermilk is traditionally made from the liquid by-product of butter making. It can also be made by inoculating low-fat milk with bacterial cultures. Buttermilk is rich in probiotics, calcium (each cup gives you 284 mg), riboflavin and protein.
The fermentation process breaks down the lactose, casein, and whey so many who are intolerant find they are able to tolerate buttermilk. Fermentation and the addition of friendly bacteria, restore many enzymes, aids digestion and help to keep your body in balance.
5. 100% New Zealand Organic Whey
New Zealand grass-fed cows graze on lush green natural pastures, and they roam freely. They are not injected with hormones. Hence, the milk they provide is free from hormones, chemical residues, and antibiotics. The whey protein that is extracted regulates hormones, boosts the metabolism, and supports the immune system.
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