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When I first started keto I was pumped. All I had to do was get rid of carbs and I could get ripped while consuming as much cheese, butter, and cream as I wanted. 4 weeks into ketosis I was down 7 pounds, more focused, but having a concerning amount of digestion and skin issues. It is hard to feel completely healthy when your stomach is constantly upset and you are breaking out. Instead of abandoning ketosis I decided to research a little more before calling it quits. To my disappointment, I found out what was causing all my problems.
Before keto, I always consumed dairy, but never that much. Besides the occasional ice cream cheat and cheese on sandwiches, I didn’t really eat much of it. When I did, I never had a bad reaction or had any concern of being lactose intolerant. After changing to a fat adapted lifestyle, I began consuming an excessive amount of cheese, loading my coffee up with heavy cream, and cooking everything in butter. I found out this is what led to my digestion problems and also made my skin awful.
It was really upsetting to learn the things I have about dairy. It is probably upsetting because most people are actually addicted to cow’s dairy. They are addicted because when you consume cheese, butter, milk, etc your body actually has a dopamine response and makes you feel good inside (similar to sugar). Let’s break down a few reasons (there are much more) why if you want to live a sustainable fat adapted lifestyle, then you gotta kick the dairy habit.
1. Dairy is Inflammatory
If you have read a few other articles on optimization daily then you probably have heard me talk about inflammation before. The anti-inflammatory effects of a sustainable fat adapted lifestyle can yield so many benefits for people physically and mentally. Those benefits are thwarted by the over-consumption of dairy products. The big reason why dairy is inflammatory is Casein protein. Simply put, our body has a really hard time breaking down casein protein in cow’s milk known as A1 casein. This may be confusing to some people in the fitness community because casein protein shakes are marketed as “slow digesting” Protein that should be consumed right before bed. More than likely this is wreaking havoc on your digestive system and causing inflammation. A reason for this is casein is very similar in molecular structure to gluten. As most of us know gluten can be hard for most people to properly digest whether you have an allergy to it or not. Just like gluten, some people can process it better than others, but overall most people will see complications from consuming large amounts of cow’s dairy because of the casein content.
2. Dairy is acidic
The acidity of your diet is a big point that is overlooked by many people switching onto a ketogenic lifestyle. Lots of keto friendly items are acidic such as dark chocolate, coffee, and red wine. Making sure to monitor the number of acidic foods that are being put into your body is important for sustaining a ketogenic diet longer than a couple months. Cow’s dairy is the most overeaten acidic food and prolonged consumptions along with other acidic foods can cause leaky gut and destroy your healthy gut biome.
3 . is loaded with Hormones and Antibiotics
In my previous article, I spoke about grass-fed beef. The same principles for getting healthy sources of meat also go for dairy. Cheese and milk from cows already cause health issues in many different ways. Loading it up with antibiotics and hormones that are pumped into dairy cattle make dairy even worse to be putting in your system. So if on a ketogenic lifestyle, it is important to avoid dairy as much as possible, but the occasional grass-fed cheese or butter isn’t going to hurt you too bad as long as the rest of your diet is on point.
As you can see from above there are multiple reasons why consuming dairy can take keto from healthy to hurtful really fast. The issue is that a lot of these negative effects of dairy are additive. You will not notice issues until you consume an excess for an extended period of time. That is why a person can eat cheese or milk from time to time and not notice any significant issues. I can honestly say that before the reduction in dairy I was not living a healthy fat adapted lifestyle. Now I only consume dairy if I am out to eat and when making food at home I will substitute cow dairy for goat (goats milk contains a casein protein that is different from cows and a lot easier for our body to process). The less cow’s dairy that there is in my diet, the better I feel. Once I cut down on dairy, my digestive and inflammation issues vanished and I felt so much better.
So I really can’t stress enough how important it is to significantly cut down your dairy consumption on a ketogenic diet. It will make it healthier, more beneficial, and sustainable for the long haul. If you have any questions or concerns please reach out. If you would like to go deeper, start with this video that got me to change my mind about dairy.
With Big Love,