Ep 025: The Pros and Cons of Dairy Consumption

In this episode we’re look at the good, bad, healthy, and dangerous of dairy. We’re diving deep into the pros and cons of dairy consumption. It is important to understand that certain forms of dairy carry significant risks while others can potentially deliver health benefits. Ultimately, everyone responds differently and we talk about how you can assess your own tolerance of various types of dairy products.

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The Problem: People are always asking about the pros and cons of dairy consumption looking for a definitive answer. The only definitive answer comes from assessing your own tolerance of dairy products. With that said, we need to establish that all dairy is not created equal. Some dairy products are downright dangerous when it comes to our fat loss and health goals while others can deliver nutrients and potential health benefits.

The Solution: Understand the difference between optimal dairy production/consumption (Bessie roams in a green pasture, Pa milks her, Ma churns the milk) and how is actually happens: Bessie is fed corn & grains. Bessie is treated with hormones & antibiotics which make their way into the milk. Bessie’s feed is very high carb and contaminated with pesticides & herbicides which make their way into her milk. Bessie’s milk is highly processed, stripping it of essential nutrients and making the essential fats less stable. The resulting product is often flavored or sugar and other stabilizers are added. We want to avoid those “conventional” dairy products. We want to actively limit our exposure to hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbides, oxidized fats, sugars and stabilizers. In this episode we talk in detail about which of these things actually pass through the milk and how they can make their way into our system (and how certain individuals are more susceptible). Exposure to these components can trigger an auto-immune response.

Beyond that, lactose (milk sugar) and casein (protein found in milk) are common dietary irritants and allergens.

Make the best dairy choices you can by shopping at a local farmers’ market or health food store where you can get higher quality, less processed products (see below).

Practical Implementation:

  • Consider a 7-14 dairy elimination to assess how you feel without dairy.
  • Pay attention to how different types of dairy impact your digestion, skin health, energy levels, hunger, cravings, water retention, focus, immunity and more.
  • Minimize your exposure to hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals in dairy products by choosing products that are:
    • Hormone free (rbgh/rbst free)
    • Antibiotic free
    • Pesticide free
    • Grass fed/pasture-raised
    • Organic
    • Raw
  • Avoid other dietary irritants (gluten, phytates, etc) that increase your vulnerability to dietary toxins by increasing the permeability of your GI tract
  • Avoid highly processed dairy products especially those that are low fat or fat free
  • Limit your exposure to sweetened and flavored dairy products


More on hormone strategies for fat loss: Diet & Lifestyle Strategies for Hormone Balance & Sustainable Fat Loss E-book

Dr. Loren Cordain’s strong stance on dairy
Dairy & Insulin Resistance
Grass fed butter is better?
Protease Inhibitors in Milk

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8 replies
  1. Tabitha
    Tabitha says:

    Where is there a place to find reliable, TRUTHFUL, research about this? I have been so divided on GMO’s and organics and pesticides, etc. I have a friend who is a small farmer. He says GMO’s are nothing to be afraid of and completely safe. I feel like there are too many people on both sides vilifying everything they don’t understand so there’s so much information that is just wrong.

    • Elizabeth Benton
      Elizabeth Benton says:

      Hi Tabitha! I don’t think I really talked much about GMOs in this episode, so I guess I’m confused about what you’re looking for? In general, I think our bodies have most of the answers we’re looking for. I pay attention to how I feel when I eat clean, organic foods versus processed, non-organic foods. If I feel better, I keep doing what I’m doing. I rely on my body more than I rely on someone else’s research. That works well for me personally. Beyond that, the focus of this episode was more about hormones fed to animals that pass through the milk. Did you check out the clinical studies I posted on the show notes page. One was from the Journal of Dairy Science and the other from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. But, of course, neither were about GMOs as that wasn’t the focus of this episode. They were about hormones and protease inhibitors in milk. Beyond that, the best advice I can give is to let your body give you the answers 🙂


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