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How to Know if Dairy is Bad for You

by | Sep 6, 2021 | Nutrition

I remember coming home after school in middle school and heading to the freezer for a couple of scoops of Breyers Butter Pecan ice cream, my Dad’s favorite flavor. Of course, chocolate anything would have been my flavor choice, but it did the trick for my sweet cravings.

I discovered a link between dairy and health while breastfeeding our daughter. So now, my favorite “ice cream” is Trader Joe’s chocolate made with coconut milk and a scoop of Whole Foods 365 peanut butter. This combo is in stiff competition with the Talenti’s Cold Brew Coffee Sorbetto my daughter found at Costco, insanely creamy and delicious!

Are you curious if you should be eliminating dairy from your diet? Then, keep reading and discover the four ways dairy can be a health issue for you and how to know with a simple in-home test that doesn’t require a doctor’s order.

Are you curious if you should be eliminating dairy from your diet? Then, keep reading and discover the four ways dairy can be a health issue for you and how to know with a simple in-home test that doesn’t require a doctor’s order.

WHERE DAIRY IS FOUND

When my daughter was a preschooler, we asked her where the meat in her chicken soup came from. She looked up from her bowl, smiling, and declared, “a pig!” That’s why I must mention that many people think eggs are dairy, but eggs are from chickens.

Dairy is a general name for any foods made from cow, goat, or sheep’s milk. Dairy foods include butter, milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and any packaged product that says it contains milk, casein, or whey.

An excellent resource for dairy-free living is godairyfree.org. Here you can learn how to read food labels (to ensure the food you’re buying is dairy-free), find dairy-free recipes, and even reviews on dairy-free products! Hello, helpful.

 

HOW DAIRY AFFECTS THE BODY

Over two decades in practice, I’m continually amazed at the wide range of adverse effects beyond digestive problems that dairy can have on individuals. I’ve seen dairy issues in those struggling with autism, autoimmune disease, weight gain, even acne. There are four ways dairy can be a health issue for you: lactose, histamine, or low-fat genetics, or an allergy or sensitivity to the dairy protein.

 

> LACTOSE GENETICS
The first way dairy can be your downfall is if you carry lactose intolerance genetics. Your body doesn’t make the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. Undigested lactose causes uncomfortable digestive symptoms. You may already know you’re lactose intolerant because after eating dairy, you have burping, bloating, gas, stomach pain, abdominal cramping, or diarrhea.

> LOW-FAT GENETICS
The second way dairy can be your downfall is if your genetics prefer a low-fat diet. Dairy is high in saturated fat, so those with low-fat genetics should keep dairy to a minimum. Too much-saturated fat for your genetics can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol, increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke.

> HISTAMINE GENETICS
The third way dairy can be your downfall is if your genetics prefer a low-histamine diet. Dairy is high in histamine, a chemical your immune system makes. Histamines are like bouncers at a club. They help your body get rid of something that’s bothering you. Those with histamine genetics can experience allergy-like symptoms when eating fermented foods, aged meat, cheese, or drinking alcohol, especially red wine. Histamine symptoms include hives, itchy or flushed skin, red eyes, runny nose, congestion, headaches, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

> DAIRY ALLERGY OR SENSITIVITY
The fourth way dairy can be your downfall is to have a milk allergy or dairy sensitivity to the dairy protein. When the immune system overreacts to dairy, we call it a food allergy (when it raises the antibody IgE) or food sensitivity (when it increases the antibody IgG.) There’s a significant difference. Food allergies can be life-threatening, whereas food sensitivities are life-disturbing. People with a dairy allergy can experience a wide range of symptoms from watery eyes, runny nose, and hives to shortness of breath and rarely anaphylaxis. They can have similar symptoms to those with lactose intolerance and dairy sensitivity (burping, bloating, gas, stomach pain, abdominal cramping, or diarrhea.) People with dairy sensitivity may struggle with eczema, asthma, recurrent ear infections, skin rashes, fatigue, brain fog, even joint pain.

Dairy is a general name for any foods made from cow, goat, or sheep’s milk. Dairy foods include butter, milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and any packaged product that says it contains milk, casein, or whey.

IN-HOME DAIRY TESTING

One way to tell if you have a problem with dairy is to eliminate it from your diet. Easier said than done. Dairy is tempting and everywhere. When our family toured the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Vermont, they were taste-testing strawberry cheesecake. I glanced at my daughter and said, “I’ll just try a little.” I took one bite, looked at her with a smile, and devoured it as we laughed. Then I ordered a whole serving of their chocolate peanut butter and proclaimed, “We can never have this in our house!” I paid the digestive price, but some food experiences are that worthy! If your symptoms improve when you eliminate dairy from your diet and return when you reintroduce it, you have your answer.

To stay on track eating dairy-free, I highly recommend testing. Your physician can order allergy testing (often negative). However, there are two ways you can test for dairy issues without leaving your home. One way to test for dairy is through a finger-prick blood test. This food sensitivity test measures your body’s immune response to 96 foods, including milk, yogurt, and a few different kinds of cheese.

My favorite way to test for dairy issues is through a genetic saliva test. This simple test analyzes 125+ of your genetic markers, including many related to dairy problems (lactose, histamine, and low-fat genetics.) Scientists have studied some genes more than others, so each of your genetic markers has a ‘Science Grade.’ The higher the grade, the more published research on that individual gene. Therefore, the more confident we can be of its impact on nutrition and health.

If you’re curious if you should be eliminating dairy from your diet, stop guessing and start testing. It’s never been easier to see if you have dairy issues with these simple in-home tests that don’t even require a doctor’s order. If you discover dairy is not your friend and remove it from your diet, you’ll likely be amazed at your dairy-free living results. Trust me, your body will thank you!

#WeAreInThisTogether for #HealthyChange

Rise stronger,

P.S. If you’re frustrated about having to live dairy-free, don’t dig yourself a hole. Changing the way you eat doesn’t have to be so hard. Click Here for The Secret to Eating the Way You Should. Plus, here’s a quick list of gluten and dairy-free products we love! You won’t believe how good these dairy-free cheeses and ice creams taste, with so many available choices and flavors!

P.P.S. Want to eat healthy organic, dairy-free meals but not spend hours in the kitchen? Check out this Healthy & Organic Meal Kit Delivery Service. You’ll discover how to decrease stress in the kitchen and how to try a week’s worth of dairy-free meal kits for FREE!

About the Author: Dr. Sue

Sue McCreadie, MD (aka Dr. Sue), is a board-certified pediatric physician and wellness expert with two decades of experience helping thousands of families achieve vibrant health. In her pediatric practice, Dr. Sue helps children adapt their diet and lifestyle to optimize their genetics for health naturally. Online Dr. Sue helps other women learn how to eat for their genetics and use a nutritional system to feel confident with energy to live their best life. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Dave, and their three children, Kaitlin, Elle, and Addison.

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