Millions of people have seen their acne vanish as one of the many dairy-free benefits. Some had been battling the dreaded eruptions for decades, with quick resolution once they cut out every drop of milk and slice of cheese. Some physicians state that it could be a milk allergy or sensitivity causing inflammation; others suggest the hormones in milk are aggravators; while one study points to lactose, butterfat, or perhaps excess iodine in milk as the culprit. Whatever the reason, an increasing number of dermatologists are now recommending the dairy-free diet as a first step in treating acne.
Preventing Milk Allergy and Sensitivity Reactions
Milk allergy is real. Dairy repeatedly ranks high in prevalence on the Top 8 food allergen list in the U.S. and Top 11 in Canada. The severity of milk allergy ranges from life-threatening to relatively mild (hives), and researchers have discovered other pathways in which milk can cause an immune response. Note that milk allergy can appear at any time in life. Though “traditional” dairy allergy has a higher prevalence in infants and young children, EoE is being diagnosed in an increasing number of adults.
For starters, lactose intolerance spurs countless digestive symptoms, including stomach pain, cramps, bloating, flatulence (yes, gas), diarrhea, and nausea. It has been estimated that 70% of the world’s population has some degree of lactose intolerance, which is perfectly normal. Dairy has also been labeled as a key trigger in IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and various other digestive conditions, from the EoE and FPIES mentioned above to chronic constipation.
Pediatricians often recommend that breastfeeding moms of milk-allergic babies go completely dairy free themselves. It is speculated that milk protein consumed by mom passes to her little one via her own milk supply. Interestingly enough, many moms opt to remain milk-free even after breastfeeding, due to the dairy-free benefits they end up enjoying themselves!
Helping or Resolving Medical Mysteries
Whether backed by research or thousands of personal success stories, many people are squashing daily headaches, migraines, rashes, stuffy sinuses, chronic infections, arthritis pain, and even narcolepsy when they cut out all dairy foods. Still others are finding a notable reduction in behavioral issues with conditions such as ADHD and Autism when they eliminate dairy, and sometimes gluten (though believe it or not, a large report found that dairy-free has a bigger impact!).
For those who are milk allergic and have had issues with low body weight, a milk-free diet can actually help them to absorb nutrients and potentially gain healthy weight. But for the rest of the population, weight loss is a real possibility with the dairy-free transition. It isn’t uncommon for me to see posts of “I went dairy-free, with no other changes in my diet or lifestyle, and 15 pounds simply melted away!” Why? A few hypotheses emerge in the studies included on Obesity and Milk, and in the consumption patterns outlined in Obesity in the Cheese Generation.
Numerous research studies have shown a direct correlation between dairy intake and several hormone-related cancers. In fact, strong ties have been identified between milk consumption and both ovarian and prostate cancers.
Believe it or not, there is a large body of science that directly combats the promoted connection between dairy milk and bone health. According to the landmark Harvard study of approximately 78,000 female nurses, women who consumed greater amounts of calcium from dairy foods had a significantly increased risk of hip fractures, while no increase in fracture risk was observed for the same levels of calcium intake from non-dairy sources.