I don't know about you, but with summer on the way and I begin looking to lose the weight I gained in winter, I'm starting to think more about healthy choices.
One thing I've read a lot about lately is that eliminating dairy from your diet can help you lose weight quickly. But because I'm obsessed with milk and cheese (seriously - I can't forgo the milk in my morning cup of coffee!) I thought I'd do some research to find out if this is a myth or if it actually works.
According to Brooke Alpert, a nutritionist and author of The Sugar Detox, cutting back on dairy can actually help you lose weight. To learn if you should cut it out completely or just cut back, how it works and which foods you should avoid, keep reading!
Cutting back on dairy can cause rapid weight loss, a nutritionist confirms
“Eliminating dairy can help with weight loss
if you aren’t overeating other things to compensate for removing this food group. If the rest of your diet stays the same, you’ll definitely drop some of those last stubborn kilos because you’re eating less sugar (yes, dairy contains sugar) and calories than you’re used to,” Alpert explains.
So should you cut out dairy completely or just limit your intake?
She adds, “I never recommend removing an entire food group from someone’s diet unless you have a medical reason for it, so no, removing dairy isn’t the best way to lose weight. However, a good way to keep dairy in your life and lose weight is to limit your portions to only twice a day. So that would be 180 ml of Greek yogurt, 30 g of cheese, or 250 ml milk no more than two times per day. This way you can still get your cheese fix while keeping your calories and sugar in check.”
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How cutting back on dairy can help you lose weight
Alpert gives insight, “Dairy isn’t bad for digestion
overall. However, some people are sensitive to it and have a harder time breaking down the casein in the dairy (a type of milk protein). Bloating, gas, constipation
, and inflammation occur when you are unable to properly digest dairy.”
She goes on to explain that lactose intolerance isn’t the same this as sensitivity to casein. If you’re not sure if you’re lactose intolerant – which basically means that your body is unable to digest and break down lactose (milk sugar) – you should try eliminating all dairy from your diet for two weeks. See if you notice any changes in your belly – are you less constipated or bloated, or is there no change whatsoever?
If nothing changes, reintroduce dairy and continue to consume two servings each day. If you notice that your stomach feels better without dairy, continue to eliminate it. But note that this isn’t about weight.
“If you’re someone who’s unable to digest dairy properly, that could take a toll on your skin too, as your skin can reflect your diet just as much as your waistline does. If you’re sensitive to a food, you can break out more frequently. So in your at-home experiment, make sure you pay attention to how your skin is reacting as well,” Alpert suggests.
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The dairy items you should avoid for weight loss benefits
Alpert explains, “The dairy items you want to avoid are items that are non-fat
versions. The processing methods remove the healthy fat and add in sugar and sodium, making them more processed and less healthy than their full-fat counterparts. And when it comes to weight loss, you always want to avoid products with added sugar, because that usually means added calories.”
She adds that fat doesn’t make you fat – it’s sugar that’s the real enemy. Your body quickly absorbs and stores added sugar, so Alpert recommends good fats like whole grass-fed milk and grass-fed butter. “I’d much rather have a client having a full-fat plain flavoured yoghurt than eating a banana.”
What’s more, your body absorbs full-fat products more easily. “When you eat a salad and don’t add any fat from avocado or olive oil, your body isn’t able to properly absorb specific vitamins. When you eat meals with some fat, you feel full and are less likely to overeat. Plain Greek yogurt is a great dairy staple for your diet because it’s loaded in protein that will help you stay full and focused all day long, preventing over-snacking between meals. Other great options are whole milk and fresh cheese like feta and mozzarella,” Alpert says.
After reading about Alpert’s take on cutting back on dairy and weight loss, I decided I could give up dairy to get rid of those few lingering kilos around my stomach area, or I could simply make better good choices. In the end, it’s about being mindful about what you eat. I’m going to lay off pizza and ice cream sundaes for a while and see what happens!