Dairy-free diets: Myths vs. facts

Does dairy really affect your weight?

Every few years a new diet trend emerges making us contemplate a healthy lifestyle change.

Whether it’s to lose weight, lower our cholesterol or improve our skin tone, it seems there’s always a brand new set of food rules promising groundbreaking results.

Now, dairy-free diets are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among young people. Studies in the UK found that a fifth of under 25-year-olds are cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet, with most taking their advice from bloggers without seeking medical advice first — a statistic experts deem dangerous when it comes to building strong bones.

In Australia, only one in 10 people consume sufficient dairy products and/or alternatives to meet their daily recommended intake. So why are so many giving dairy the flick?

Below, we’ve listed three myths and one truth about dairy foods to help you sort your dairy fact from fiction.

MYTH: I need to stop eating dairy to lose weight

According to Nutrition Australia, a weight-loss diet should include all food groups to ensure daily nutrient needs are met.

Loaded with healthy fats, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, dairy promotes a healthy metabolism and arms you with enough energy to get you through the day.

While many celebrities, such as Khloé Kardashian, have attested to the slimming benefits of a dairy-free diet, research has shown that eating dairy can actually help you lose weight.

In a study conducted by the British Journal of Nutrition, people who consumed a portion of high-protein, moderate-fat cheese an hour before mealtimes ate less during the meal — and throughout the rest of the day.

MYTH: Those who are lactose intolerant should avoid dairy

Research has shown that one in six Australians have eliminated dairy — with the majority choosing to cut out the food group due to gastrointestinal symptoms such as cramps, bloating or wind. Alarmingly, most had also made the decision to drop dairy without seeking medical advice first.

People who remove dairy foods from their diet to treat lactose intolerance have a greater risk of low bone mineral content and developing osteoporosis later in life. According to Dairy Australia, there is no need for lactose intolerant people to eliminate dairy from their diets as many dairy foods do not contain a large amount of lactose.

Aussie yoghourt brand Jalna has introduced Synbio100® — a combination of two probiotics — as part of the launch of their new Lactose Free pot set yoghourt range. Exclusive to Jalna’s Lactose Free range, the strains have been shown to reduce bloating, improve digestion and boost the number of beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gut. Plus, with more than 100mg of calcium per serve, you’ll be guaranteed the nutritional goodness (and taste) of regular yoghourt without any lactose worry.

FACT: Some dairy foods can help to prevent tooth decay

Believe it or not, hard cheese has been found to protect from tooth decay. Most forms of these dairy foods contain calcium, phosphorus and the protein casein, all of which have been shown to protect tooth enamel and ward off tooth decay.

It’s not just cheese either; plain milk and yoghourts with no added sugar are considered to have a beneficial effect to teeth.

MYTH: I don’t need to eat dairy if I take calcium tablets

As well as being a great source of calcium, dairy products contain other nutrients that are essential for a healthy immune system, nerve and muscle functionality and healthy skin.

To promote good bone health, your body requires calcium, protein and vitamin D — all of which can be found in a serve of yoghourt or glass of milk — so you shouldn’t skimp on dairy in favour of supplements.

If you want to decrease your dairy intake, speak to your GP who can help you to find the suitable supplements, additional or alternative nutrient sources that are right for you.

Brought to you by Jalna

Related stories

Unwind and relax with your favourite magazine!

Huge savings plus FREE home delivery