According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes 36 pounds of cheese, 200 pounds of milk and cream and 24 pounds of ice cream or frozen dairy products annually. But what benefits do dairy products provide in the first place? The dairy industry touts bone health and calcium, but research suggesting dairy helps bone health is weak at best. If you are deficient in calcium, there are plenty of non-dairy calcium sources, including kale, collard greens, tempeh and beans.
On the other hand, there may be some health reasons to reduce or cut dairy out completely. What happens to your body when you go cold turkey on dairy?
1. Fewer Zits
Excluding dairy products could make you less prone to getting acne. According to research from Dartmouth Medical School, milk has testosterone-like hormones, which may stimulate oil glands in the skin and contribute to breakouts.
2. Better Digestion, Less Gas
Nearly two-thirds of the world’s population has a hard time digesting milk, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This varies with ethnic groups from mild to severe lactose intolerance. If you have an intolerance to lactose, cutting out dairy could reduce bloating, flatulence, diarrhea and stomach cramps says the NHS.
3. Reduced Cancer Risk
Swedish researchers found women who drink more than one glass of milk per day may double their risk of ovarian cancer. A Harvard study found men who consumed more than two daily dairy servings had a 34 percent increased risk of developing prostate cancer, compared with those who consumed little or no dairy.
4. Longer Life
According to a study published in the BMJ, each daily glass of milk elevated mortality risk by 15 percent. Women who drank three or more glasses of milk per day were nearly twice as likely to die over the next two decades than those who drank less than one glass a day. The culprit: galactose, a simple milk sugar that induces oxidative stress and low-grade inflammation, often a precursor to disease.
In a YahooNews article, Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, a plant-based dietitian and author of The Vegiterranean Diet and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition adds that abstaining from dairy could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and most other chronic diseases. That because most dairy products contain saturated fats, cholesterol-hormones and steroids.
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