Giving Up Dairy Foods – Is It Healthy Or Unhealthy?

Giving Up Dairy Foods – Is It Healthy Or Unhealthy?


By Dt. Sarika Nair, Dietitian/Nutritionist

When it comes to production and consumption of milk, India is one of the largest producers and consumers in the world. However, the per capita consumption of milk presently in India is at 97 liters a year, which is way below than western countries, that is 285 and 281 for US and EU respectively. It is always advised to consume milk and dairy products as they are good for health. Infants and young children are fed milk and dairy products, but as you grow old, should dairy products still be a part of your diet?

Argument in favor: Drink milk for strong bones
One of the most common reasons why people still drink milk as adults is to strengthen their bones. Milk is one of the richest sources of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is an integral part of our bones and Vitamin D helps the body absorb more calcium. If you have healthy bones, the risk of fracturing bones decreases. One glass of milk fulfills 30% of daily calcium requirement.

If you were to remove milk from your diet, it is important to substitute it with the following foods:

  1. Beans
  2. Kale
  3. Two servings of oatmeal
  4. Egg yolks
  5. Fatty fish and
  6. Fortified orange juice

Exposure to the sun can also give vitamin D to your body, but too much exposure to sunlight can increase your risk of other conditions such as sun allergies and skin cancer.

Argument against: Giving up milk can aid in weight loss
For people who are overweight, this could help lose a few kilos. This is mainly because dairy products contain sugar and many of us flavor it with even more sugar. Also, giving up dairy products will make you feel less bloated.

  • Milk is not easy to digest as when you have an upset stomach, you are advised to avoid milk. This is because it is not easy to digest. For people who are lactose intolerant, giving up milk will aid in the digestion of others foods. It can also help treat irritable bowel syndrome caused by indigestion.
  • Giving up milk can improve your skin health as it will lower the frequency and intensity of acne flare-ups. Some dermatologists also say that it could help treat eczema.
  • Quitting milk is not easy. After all, we consume dairy products in so many ways. We add it to our cereals, use it in sauces and what would pizza be without cheese. If you cannot avoid milk, do not add sugar to it. However, you can replace it with options, such as almond milk, soy milk and tofu, as these foods are healthier and easier to digest. Also, as a practice, instead of ice cream, you could end your meal with greek yogurt.