An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Dairy Free Diets

Monday, January 9, 2017

Dairy Free Diets

Diary free is the latest diet craze. Here's why it ISN'T good for you!

The new year means people are talking about diets to get themselves back on track from the gluttonous holiday season. Everyone wants to know what everyone is doing to get results. I hear it all the time in the banter and chatter at my gym: "What diet are you following?" friends will ask one another. I get asked all the time what I've done to "lose all my baby weight so fast." And then one of my fellow fitness buddies Andrea Reynolds posted this video to her Facebook page and asked what people thought. If you didn't click to the vid, it's a man we're told is a "doctor" (although MD, PhD, MS or just a dude who's "studied" the subject isn't made clear) who goes on and on about how humans shouldn't drink cow milk or consume any dairy product. I replied to her pose with some choice emojis. Because dairy free diets are the latest bogus diet craze.

Read this if you're thinking about going dairy free!

That's right. A dairy free diet is a load of crap. It won't help you lose weight, it won't balance your hormones and it won't reduce excess mucus. 

I know some of the dairy free folks are losing their minds right now. But let's look back at history to help me prove my point. In the late 1980s and 1990s, it was widely accepted that a low-fat diet is best. Fat has the most calories per gram, after all, so it made sense that reducing fat intake also would reduce overall calorie intake and therefore keep people in better shape and healthier. The FDA approved of this diet and taught it in the schools with the food pyramid. Major food companies marketed all their products as being low fat, reduced fat or even fat free. There was fat free mayo and fat free cream cheese and you better only eat those egg whites because the yolk is full of fat! And fat is bad, the 1990s told us. 

What happened? People got fatter than ever! The 1990s saw one of the biggest rises in obesity to date. Food companies realized that taking all the fat out of things made it taste bad. So they replaced the fat with sugar. As it would turn out, SUGAR is what causes the creation of fat cells in the body, not fat. Sugar consumption soared in the 90's right along with people's waistlines. And heart attacks? Well those also increased. 

Sometime in the early 2000s scientists and cardiologists realized that all fat isn't bad for the heart. In fact, some of it is really good for you! Plant-based fats like avocados and Omega-3's found in fatty fish like wild salmon are great for healthy hearts AND healthy waistlines. The FDA changed the food pyramid. Several times, actually. Low fat became a thing of the past, and the pendulum swung hard the other way: Now it was low-carb diets that would keep us all slim!

With fats back in favor, the new food demon was bread, rice, potatoes and anything with sugar. Dr. Atkins became a household name. Bread baskets at restaurants faded away. Mass chain restaurants signaled which of their items were low-carb. The Chipolte burrito bol launched so people wouldn't have to eat the flour-filled tortilla. I was in college for this stupid craze and so many of my sorority sisters talked excessively about carbs, and how many they did or didn't have that day. It was in the late 2000s that I saw a tank top that said, "I EAT CARBS" and I laughed so hard I bought it!

Around 2010, after people had suffered one too many meat sweats, it came to light that carbohydrates are, in fact, not the devil. Complex carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potatoes and whole wheat bread came back into favor. Refined carbs still should be eaten rarely, but the low carb craze slipped off it's buttery, greasy cliff.

After carbs were cool again, the gluten free tribe emerged. Everyone blamed EVERYTHING on gluten! It was making them fat, it was throwing their hormones out of whack, it was giving them the runs. Gluten took the food demon baton! And while I still have many friends who *try* to eat gluten free, they don't do it 100%. Truly gluten free food is about three times as expensive as normal food. And if you think that sushi you had was GF, the sushi rice is loaded with it (due to the vinegar in it) and so was the soy sauce you dipped it in. 

GF is still pretty big, but I think people have gotten sick of asking what's GF on menus. Because honestly, you get about two choices (at best) of truly GF food that isn't a salad. They're sick of paying $15 for a slice of GF pizza. Hell, maybe they just miss a good sandwich. I know I would! So here we are at the newest food demon: Dairy. 

Dairy is giving people headaches, it's making them bloated and gassy, it's turning their children into monsters. It's the cause of their self-diagnosed hormone imbalance. They blame their stuffy noses on dairy because they think it contributes to mucus production (that "causation" has been scientifically proven to be untrue.) Ahhh dairy. You're the new "low fat" and "low carb" food craze, and I cannot wait for people to return to sanity again about you.

I don't understand why history can't seem to teach us a lesson. It's pretty clear to me. Food crazes that tell you NOT to eat something DON'T WORK. They don't work because it's not sustainable. Sure, maybe you lost a few pounds following one of these dumb diet fads. Have you stuck with it for years and years and have you kept the weight off? My guess is no. Because when you deprive yourself of something, especially of an entire food group like this stupid dairy free craze, your body starts to lack nutrients. Your mind starts to crave that one specific thing you're telling it it can't have. So you eat more of other food items to compensate for the deprivation.

Want to get healthy in 2017? Ditch the food demons! Don't make anything off limits. Incorporate everything into your diet. Eat responsibly. Let yourself have treats, but make sure you have more good days than bad. Fill your plate with as many veggies as you can. THAT is how you have a healthy lifestyle! Can we all get over the dairy free diet already?


  1. I 100% agree with this! I don't follow fad diets at all. It seems that people constantly want to find ONE food group that is the culprit for their poor health, as opposed to starting a workout regimen and enjoying foods in moderation.

  2. i used to laugh when people would say they were eating GF to lose weight. guess what is GF? fries. potato chips. chocolate. ice cream. of course if you stick to the naturally GF things, like fruit, veg & meat.. yeah, you'd likely lose weight but that's not because of the lack of gluten. anyway. i don't really know anyone who is all aboard the dairy free train, unless they have actual issues, but i agree with just eating responsibly. but people will believe what they wanna believe.

  3. Under the parameters you mentioned in your post, I completely agree with you. However, a dairy-free and gluten-free diet has greatly alleviated the amount of pain my body feels due to PCOS (polycyclic ovary syndrome). Both are high inflammatory and my body goes into revolt when consumed.

    Disclaimer: I did not self-prescribe this diet for myself. This came under a long trial and error of other methods before the recommendation of my primary doctor and OBGYN.

    Just adding my perspective to this!

    Love you, Paige!

  4. Yes, another fad diet. I literally posted a tweet last night make un of people who were cutting off dairy "to lose weight". I actually eat a lot of it and genetically low calcium runs in the family (plus most indian women), so it would only be responsible to have more of it.

    SO happy that you shared the research. Good for you and thank you for helping me justify that extra little bite of ice cream. You da real MVP.

  5. Loved your ranting and raving regarding the diets people latch onto. There is a ton of misinformation throughout the internet and people don't perform due diligence on validating sources - which is pretty normal and expected. The diet industry is pretty scummy and takes full advantage of this.

  6. Good read! Unfortunately as a new momma lactose hurt my little one so I had to be dairy free until now. 7 months..... and slowly easing back into it. :) no ice cream yet.

  7. Oh the fad diets. Whatever happened to just eating healthy? Why do people feel like they need a diet? We don't drink milk (except for my occasional latte) since A had a dairy sensitivity as a baby (so we switched to almond actually has more calcium than cow's milk), but you best believe I will not ever give up cheese. It's just too good.

  8. I totally disagree. Everyone is different. I cut out dairy 3 years ago, to control endometriosis and it really helped. I also noticed my face cleared up and I lost weight. Now does it work for everyone? No, but it can help control some issues and should be explored if it might help.

  9. Fad diets are definitely ones I dont follow and I'm more than happy not too. As long as I'm incorporating healthy choices, I'm good.

  10. I don't actually have too many problems finding GF food that isn't a salad -- fish or meat as a main, plus some mashed potatoes, spinach, rice, brussels sprouts, etc. If something is usually breaded, few restaurants have a problem with not breading it. For sushi restaurants: brown rice is almost never cooked with malt vinegar, so I call in advance to check and then just order that.

    I think "just eat healthy!" is 100% solid advice for folks who are inherently, basically, healthy. :) Diet fads get on my nerves because it means restaurants and servers start taking allergies/intolerances less seriously; when you ask your server "does it have milk in it?! I CAN'T HAVE MILK!!!" and he responds "hmm, yes, but just a tablespoon" and you're like "ah okay that's fine then!" because you really want the tomato soup or whatever and it's not a big deal for you to "cheat" just a little -- it changes the dialogue for when the rare person comes in with a serious problem. After so many fad diets, servers start to shrug off "I can't have x" and then the rest of us go home in pain and vow to never eat out again.

  11. I hear ya on the newest fad diets. Everyone and their mother these days are gluten intolerant--very different than being a true celiac like my mother-in-law. I like dairy way too much to ever give it up--why don't people jump on the newest diet craze--Everything In Moderation? I guess it just doesn't sound that great. Paige--you need to start it up and post about how it amazingly made you lose all your baby weight ;) How it is an absolute miracle diet. Oh, and regular exercise--amazing miracles! LOL. I am talking viral post material here ;)

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