For years, Americans have been encouraged by nutritionists and the dairy lobby to consume plenty of dairy products. Milk, cheese, yogurt, butter and ice cream are some of the most heavily consumed foods in the American diet. However, these foods are often high in saturated fat, and many of them also contain a lot of sugar. Many people notice uncomfortable symptoms after eating a lot of dairy products. Whether you’re looking to resolve those symptoms or make some healthy lifestyle changes, here are six reasons why you should consider cutting dairy.
1. Heart Disease
Most dairy products are high in saturated fat. Some cheeses are as much as 70 percent saturated fat. This type of fat contributes to hardening of the arteries and cholesterol buildup, which blocks the arteries. A diet high in saturated fat increases your risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the number one cause of death of Americans, so this is a good reason to reduce your consumption of dairy products.
Frequent consumption of dairy products is linked with an increased risk of prostate cancer in men. Although prostate cancer is rarely deadly, it does impact quality of life. In people with lactose intolerance, consuming dairy is associated with an increased risk of ovarian, breast and lung cancer. This may be due to the growth hormones given to cows.
3. Bone Health
Many people believe that they need to drink milk in order to have strong bones. However, several studies published in the British Medical Journal disprove these claims. A study of more than 96,000 men showed that the more milk they drank as teenagers, the more bone fractures they had in adulthood. To get calcium, you can eat leafy green plants. Broccoli and almonds are excellent sources of calcium that are low in saturated fat and high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Dairy foods that are high in sugar and fat may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When extra fat is stored around your belly, it increases your risk of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. If you have other risk factors for diabetes, it’s a good idea to eat less dairy.
Dairy products are typically high in calories and fat, which may cause you to gain weight and become obese. For many people, it’s tough to stop at one serving of cheese or ice cream. Consider choosing low-fat dairy or pre-measuring cheese into the correct portion sizes. Instead of getting a tub of ice cream, get one pint of quality ice cream and measure the correct serving size.
6. Lactose Intolerance
About 15 percent of Caucasians, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans and 95 percent of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance symptoms include flatulence, bloating, diarrhea and an upset stomach. These symptoms could keep you up at night, making it difficult for you to sleep. If you notice poor quality sleep after eating a lot of dairy, consider cutting back. You may sleep better and feel better the next day. Removing dairy from your diet could improve your alertness, performance and energy level if lactose intolerance symptoms disrupt your sleep.