7 Reasons To Remove Dairy Products If You Wish To Lose Weight

Dairy products were my absolute favorite food as a vegetarian from my teen years. I just loved their smooth and fatty flavor.

I was addicted.

Over the years and especially following my research into the ideal diet for humans, which I called The Guerrilla Diet because I felt I had to “combat” all I was taught and thought was healthy to eat, I understood the real dangers and problems associated with consuming dairy foods.

I now know that milk and dairy products are not the ideal food they are portrayed to be by the USDA.

In this article, I will cover the problems associated with consuming dairy foods with a particular focus on how their consumption can interfere with weight loss.

Here are some scientific facts:

1. Calcium and Weight Gain:

Milk is a prime source of two vital nutrients: calcium and phosphorous. 

Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body. It helps form and maintains healthy teeth and bones. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in the human body is stored in the teeth and bones where it provides hardness for tissue strength. The remaining 1% is found in the blood and other tissues where it assists in numerous other functions including blood clotting, muscle contraction, vasodilatation, hormonal secretion, the transmission of nerve impulses, and playing critical roles in cell signaling and maintaining a healthy heart rhythm. 

But research also shows that dietary calcium plays a significant role in the modulation of energy metabolism and, consequently, exerts an “anti-obesity” effect. 

Calcium which is stored in fat cells plays a crucial role in regulating how body fat is processed and stored. The more calcium one has in their fat cells, the more fat the cells will burn, thus, the larger the weight loss. [1, 2, 3]

Dietary calcium governs weight and increases fecal lipid loss, [4] therefore calcium-rich foods should form a significant part of your diet.

Although calcium is found at high levels in dairy foods, this calcium is not well absorbed by our body. For the body to absorb calcium efficiently, there has to be a relatively equal amount of magnesium present in the food source. Milk only contains a small amount of magnesium, so the body cannot make use of all of the calcium contained within it. In reality, only about 25% of dairy calcium from milk can be absorbed. The remaining 75% may accumulate in the body leading to kidney stones, plaque build-up in the arteries, gout, and can be a contributing factor for arthritis.

So, where Can People Get Their Calcium Requirements If Not from Milk and Dairy Products?

Cows, like humans, do not make their own calcium, so they need to get calcium from their diet in an absorbable form. Foods rich in absorbable calcium include:

Table 7: Foods Rich In Calcium Recommended by The Guerrilla Diet and Lifestyle Program

Food

Amount

Calcium (mg)

Sprouted sesame paste

2 Tbsp.

390 (40% DV)

Collard greens, cooked

1 cup

357 (36% DV)

Turnip greens, cooked

1 cup

249 (25% DV)

Tofu, processed with nigari*

4 ounces

130-400 (13-41% DV)

Tempeh

1 cup

184 (19% DV)

Kale, cooked

1 cup

179 (18.5% DV)

Soybeans, cooked

1 cup

175 (18% DV)

Bok choy, cooked

1 cup

158 (16% DV)

Mustard greens, cooked

1 cup

152 (15.5% DV)

Okra, cooked

1 cup

135 (14% DV)

Tahini

2 Tbsp.

128 (13% DV)

Navy beans, cooked

1 cup

126 (13% DV)

Almond butter

2 Tbsp.

111 (11.5% DV)

Almonds, whole

1/4 cup

94 (9.5% DV)

Broccoli, cooked

1 cup

62 (6.5% DV)

To maintain high levels of calcium in fat tissue, I advise on consuming these foods regularly as part of your diet.

2. Dairy Protein and Weight Gain:

The protein levels and type of protein found in cow’s milk leads to weight gain in humans:

The biochemical make-up of cow’s milk is ideally suited to turn a 65-pound newborn calf into a 400-pound cow in one year. It carries three times more protein than in human milk. Of all mammals, human milk has the lowest ratio of casein to whey. Furthermore, human milk has only 1.2 grams of protein per cup of milk, which is very low protein content. The protein found in breast milk is mostly whey protein which is easier to digest than casein, which is the chief protein found in cow’s milk (80%). Cow’s milk contains, on average, 7.9 grams of protein per cup of milk.

The time required for a human baby to double its birth weight is 120 days. 120 days is a very long period in comparison with a cow. A baby calf doubles its birth weight in just 47 days.

The protein content of milk allows the body to grow very fast. The milk of a cow is intended to make the calf grow quickly to a large size. Human milk is firstly geared towards increasing brain development and less for growth in size.

Overall, children raised on cow’s milk are larger than children raised on human milk or milk made from whey protein. [5] Furthermore, the high levels of animal protein in the diet leads to the significant release of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1, a hormone similar in structure to insulin which leads cells to reproduce and regenerate), which leads to more growth occurring inside the body.

3. Dairy foods, Saturated Fat and Weight Gain:

Dairy products are rich in saturated fats, and high saturated fat intake after infancy is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease as well as obesity. Consumption of a diet rich in saturated fats results in a pro-inflammatory “obesity-linked” gene expression profile. [12] Dairy products contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet.  

While it’s true that most dairy products are now available in fat-reduced or non-fat options, fat still forms a significant part of these foods. 

So how much fat does milk really contain:

In whole milk, 49% of the calories are from fat.

In “2%” milk, 35% of the calories are from fat.

In skim milk, 6% of the calories are from fat.

In cheddar cheese, 74% of the calories are from fat.

In butter, almost all of the calories are from fat.

4. Dairy Foods, Trans Fat, and Weight gain: 

Research shows that trans fat in the diet induces abdominal obesity and causes changes in insulin sensitivity [6]. Trans fat boosts “bad cholesterol” (LDL) levels and lowers “good cholesterol” (HDL) levels. Eating trans fat has been proven to increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Institute of Medicine recommends, and I quote: “that individuals keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible.” [13, 14]. Since in nature, trans fats are found in only one place, in animal products including all dairy products, these guidelines, in other words, suggest that people should keep animal product consumption including dairy product consumption “as low as possible.” 

5. Dairy Foods, Iron Status, and Weight Gain

Iron status is significantly impaired when whole cow’s milk is introduced into the diet of young infants. (22) The high levels of protein in cow’s milk are challenging to digest. The protein casein found in cow’s milk, unlike the whey protein found in human breast milk, irritates the gut wall and may cause internal bleeding which leads to iron loss and inflammation.

But apart from causing the loss of iron followed by anemia, iron levels also influence your weight. Studies show that iron deficiency leads to an elevated steady-state level of blood glucose and insulin. [7] When blood sugar levels are consistently high, you increase your risk for insulin resistance which is a risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and ensures weight gain.

But how is iron deficiency connected to weight gain? 

Chronic inflammation occurs in the body when we gain weight through the release of inflammatory cytokines from the visceral fat tissue. 

Chronic inflammation also occurs from faulty dietary habits and high consumption of inflammatory promoting foods including dairy products, which lead to weight gain in this way: 

The inflammatory cytokines stimulate the production of hepcidin, the primary iron regulator in the body which is produced by the liver. Hepcidin is responsible for decreasing circulating iron stores. Hepcidin accomplishes this in two ways: 

In the small intestine, iron is absorbed through the duodenum wall via ferroportin channels. Hepcidin blocks ferroportin channels thereby inhibiting absorption of iron from the gut. 

The second-way hepcidin reduces serum iron is via reduction of the recycling of iron from the degradation of red blood cells when they finish their life cycle (every 120 days). Red blood cells have iron in the hemoglobin, and when degraded, the iron is released to be reused for new red blood cells. Hepcidin prevents this reuse. 

When serum iron becomes low, this prevents hemoglobin production which leads to anemia. The body reduces serum iron during inflammation because bacteria, cancer, and other inflammatory causing cells also require iron for their nutrition. Therefore, I have seen many times in my clinic people with iron deficiency even though (and probably because) they consume large amounts of meat products. Vegetarians who consume large amounts of dairy products are particularly prone to iron deficiency anemia due to chronic inflammation caused by dairy products, which leads to weight gain.

6. Dairy Foods, Synthetic Chemicals, and Weight Gain 

During the last few decades, we see an exponential rise in production and use of synthetic chemicals, many of which are known for causing weight loss at high levels of exposure, but at much lower concentrations, these same compounds have powerful weight-promoting activity. Here are a few examples of these chemicals:

Dairy products are rich in xenoestrogens, the endocrine-disrupting pollutants which come from the plastic tubes (udders) that collect the milk. These udders are made from soft, and flexible plastic tubing containing phthalates. The endocrine disrupting chemicals leach into the warm milk going through them. These chemicals have also been shown to lead to weight gain in over 20,000 animals species. [20]

Nowadays, cows are raised in a very unnatural environment. For farmers to increase cow milk production, they provide them with synthetic growth hormones, making cows produce a lot more milk than nature intended, and these chemicals are also affecting our health. For example, the synthetic growth hormones given to cows to not only increase their milk production, but they also work with a hormone similar in structure to insulin to reproduce and regenerate cells. This hormone is Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) which helps to stimulate the growth of cells throughout the body. This increase in production of IGF-1 is fine during growth periods from birth through to adolescence, but in adult years, has been found to be linked with the growth of cancer cells, especially breast [10] and prostate cancer [11], decreased lifespan [9] as well as physical growth and weight gain. 

7. Dairy Foods, Estrogens, and Weight Gain

Modern-day cows are genetically changed so that they will lactate throughout the whole pregnancy period. This is precisely the time when their estrogen levels are at their highest. The estrogen passes into their milk and into our body when we consume dairy products, influencing our health. 

Estrogen, a steroid hormone, forms a natural part of animal metabolism, and so all foodstuffs of animal origin also contain steroid hormones, and the presence of hormones in food has been shown to be connected with obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. [18, 19]

These hormones lead to an increase in visceral fat, the fat around the belly and surrounding organs including the liver, heart, and kidneys. This increased fat mass leads to an increase in the hormone leptin produced by the fat cells. This may seem to be good considering that leptin reduces appetite. But at chronically high levels, neural cells with leptin receptors become desensitized to leptin leading the brain to think that it has not enough fat stores. This leads the brain to send messages to increase hunger. 

The Addiction To Dairy:

Many people understand the problems associated with consuming dairy products but find it hard to kick the habit. 

The problem with removing dairy products from your diet is that it is not as easy as it may seem and most people will suffer withdrawal symptoms. 

But why?

The majority of cow milk protein is casein, and when casein is digested, the by-products of this digestion are casomorphines. These come from the opioid family who is among the world’s oldest known drugs (morphine). Opioids are known for their capacity to generate a “high” feeling. But, unknowingly for most, these opiates in dairy products also lead to the addiction to dairy products. 

This is a very natural process since the cow wants her offspring to be addicted to the milk so the baby calf will always come back for more and thus ensure its survival.

When humans consume dairy products, these same protein degradation products lead us to become addicted to milk and dairy products.

Therefore, it is not easy to stop consuming dairy products. 

When I was personally changing my diet into the ideal diet for humans, stopping dairy consumption was the most difficult lifestyle change I had to make. The reason I persisted with the change and did not bend was that I had a good enough reason to do so. I wanted to heal myself from cancer.

Nietzsche said it well when he declared; “He who has a strong enough WHY can endure any HOW.”

For changing lifestyle habits, you must have a good enough reason to do so to endure the difficulties along the way and to lose weight; you must change your lifestyle habits. Nothing else will do the trick no matter how many diets you try. What’s your reason? Is it strong enough to get you through the hardships you will encounter along the way to reach your goal? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below. 

 

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References:

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