No Wellness Wankery

104: Should I avoid dairy to lose weight?

March 05, 2024 Lyndi Cohen
No Wellness Wankery
104: Should I avoid dairy to lose weight?
Show Notes Transcript

Do you avoid dairy, believing it to cause breakouts, weight gain, hormone problems, fatigue?

Dairy has so many myths surrounding it - from being bad for your heart health, to causing weight gain or preventing weight loss. Yet most of this information is untrue, or not backed by any research or science.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Which of the information about dairy is FALSE
  • The health benefits of eating dairy
  • My recommendations for how often, and what types of dairy you should eat
  • Whether you should only eat low-fat dairy products
  • The advantages to eating full-fat versus low-fat dairy

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Speaker 1:

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's episode of no Wellness. Wankery Today is a goodie. Should you avoid dairy to lose weight? But first let's talk about the benefits, the potential benefits, of having dairy. So many people demonise dairy. They say it contributes to them feeling bloated, lethargic, breaking out that it's not good for your hormones, and so let's get into it.

Speaker 1:

If you're not intolerant to dairy, it can actually be very beneficial to have dairy in your diet. And let's just briefly go through some of those ways. Well, firstly, it's rich in calcium and vitamin D and phosphorus, remember. Calcium is so important for maintaining your bone health, particularly as you age, that bone mass, that bone density can drop off. So having calcium and that's why they say recommend three serves a day of calcium. So think things like yogurt, milk, cheese, vitamin D that nutrient is so important for your mental health. So including that and it can be a bit tricky to get enough vitamin D into your diet. So adding in dairy is a bit of a simple one to get that little nutrition hit. What you might not realise is that your body actually prefers getting nutrition from food as opposed to something like a supplement. So, wherever possible, if we can get that nutrient from food our body's like. Thank you, I appreciate it.

Speaker 1:

The other thing you might have heard is that dairy is not good for your heart health. Now this myth has been dispelled. We used to think that what we know all saturated fat is bad, and we used to think that all saturated fat was equal. But what we realised is that looking at just nutrients alone didn't show us how food impacted us. So once you realise that dairy foods come with a whole bunch of nutrients and different kinds of carbohydrates and get digested in our body differently from, say, just having plain, straight or saturated fat, once we realise that the package of the food matters, as in like all the bits and pieces that make up a food, consuming dairy can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or heart problems. It is a myth that dairy is bad for your heart health. In fact, when we look at the research, it actually shows that it can reduce the risk of having high blood pressure. So if you have high blood pressure, having dairy can help to manage that risk and it protects against something like stroke. This is all very useful, particularly when we were told that we need to avoid it.

Speaker 1:

You do not need to avoid dairy. If you're looking after your health, it can be something that you include. And one of the things I think that is wonderful about dairy is that it's naturally high in protein, and so it can be a really kind of easy and affordable way to get protein in your diet. And also, if you have diabetes. Dairy has fat, it has protein, it has carbs and it's low GI carbs, so it can be really good for blood sugar management. It fits within the realm of the things that we're taught, it can be low GI and, of course, we're looking for those options that don't have added sugar and they're going to be better for you as well. And lastly, if you have a menstrual cycle, the research does show as well that having dairy can actually help reduce your symptoms of PMS, which is great news, and that is thought to be because of the calcium and that vitamin D content to nutrients that may be helpful for PMS. Ok, so those are the general health benefits, and there are more, but I think those are the top line ones.

Speaker 1:

Now let's get to the crux of it. Does eating dairy foods contribute to weight gain? No, eating dairy foods is not linked with the weight gain, according to a review of the Lichcha which was undertaken when they were looking at creating the Australian Dietrich guidelines on healthy eating and what's more, eating dairy foods can help with weight loss. So they did like a calorie controlled weight loss study in two metronalysis. That's like a very high level form of study showed that including at least three serves of dairy. So I think milk and cheese and yogurt actually resulted in people losing more weight, increase their muscle mass, reduce their fat mass and help to reduce that stomach fat which we know can be contributing to our risk of disease. So think about that. It actually helped people maintain that lean muscle mass. As we get older, we can lose a lot of that muscle mass, we're losing bone mass and we can get extra weight around our stomach.

Speaker 1:

So dairy including it in your diet can help with all of these things and you might be going. Well, I'm trying to lose weight. Won't including dairy add calories, making me gain weight? And you know when people ask me stuff like this. I think it's important to note that when we look at the research, things like chocolate chips, ice cream these are called discretionary foods. They account for 35% of our total energy intake when you look at population studies, and so I think it's much more of a thing that we should be focusing on that stuff.

Speaker 1:

I know we often people villainize really perfectly healthy foods like dairy and, as I said, the studies reveal that people could consume more dairy. Think, you know, milk, yogurt, cheese. They actually lost more weight and had less fat around their stomach areas. So I don't think that is the case that it's going to add in calories. I think it can actually be a very supportive thing to be doing. Now, why could it be supportive for our weight management goals? It could be because it's a very satisfying food.

Speaker 1:

I talk about this in episode 85, why French women don't get fat. If you haven't listened to it, go listen to it. But what I noticed is the French women were adding in things like milk and cheese on the regular, and I think when we make health eating satisfying, we find that we might not have constant cravings or a constant hunger. We actually finish our meals feeling satisfied. So I think that's a very important thing to take on board. On that note, can you only eat low fat dairy? That is a very good question. If you haven't, please go listen to the previous episode because we talk about this in depth. But to sum it up for you, there are advantages to full fat or lower fat. So I think the main thing is to choose the type of dairy, the fat percentage, that feels good for your body.

Speaker 1:

Personally, I do like to go for no added sugar varieties. If I want to sweeten it, I'll add something like honey. That way I can kind of impact how sweet I like my food and I think that's just gives you a little bit more freedom. And just to wrap up, please don't cut out foods and whole food groups out of your diet. You really don't have to, and a lot of the messaging around dairy is really part of diet culture and it's creating fear. That doesn't need to be there. Personally, I love eating dairy as part of my diet. I really do try and hit my three serves of dairy a day and I think when I grow older my bones are going to be better for it.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to this episode. I'll see you next time and if you have any questions that you'd like me to answer on the podcast, please do reach out. You can email me hello at Lindy Cohen dot com and I'll hopefully be able to answer it in a podcast episode coming too soon Finding it tricky to make time to create or cook healthy, balance recipes amongst the busyness of work, family, social life and every day to do lists. I see you. My back to basics app gives you hundreds of nutritious, dietitian designed recipes, all created to be super simple, quick and easy to prepare, as well as workouts, mindfulness exercises and all the tools you need to live your best life, Streamline your life and make healthy cooking a breeze, not to mention totally delicious and enjoyable. With my back to basics app, you can sign up at the link in the show notes today.