5. Negative: Bone Loss

Bone Density

Ditching dairy may have a negative effect on the health of your bones. Dairy products are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. These nutrients are critical to maintaining strong and healthy bones. Studies suggest that consuming milk or other dairy products improves bone density, prevents bone loss, and decreases the risk of bone fractures. You can also improve your bone strength by engaging in weight-bearing exercises such as walking, hiking, or dancing. Resistance exercises using weights can also strengthen your bones.

4. Positive: More Energy

energy

Removing dairy from your diet may infuse you with more energy. This may be due to the effects of also ditching the heavy, calorie-laden, nutrient-deficient foods that contain dairy. Examples of these foods include pizza, creamy pasta dishes, and gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. Removing these items from your diet makes more room for nutrient-dense, energy-promoting foods such as lean proteins, fiber-dense vegetables, and antioxidant-rich fresh fruits. To maintain steady energy levels, refrain from sugary sodas, sweets, and baked goods, which provide a sugar rush followed by a slump.

3. Negative: Weakened Immunity

Immunity

Unfortunately, depriving your body of the many nutrients contained in dairy products can decrease your ability to fight off infections. One cup of whole milk contains 18% of the recommended daily value of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12, along with vitamins A, B6, and E, is important for maintaining a healthy immune system. B12 is also involved in manufacturing the red blood cells and DNA that keep your body running smoothly. According to Harvard Health Publishing, we obtain vitamin B12 only by consuming meat, yeast extracts, or dairy products. Therefore, removing dairy from your diet can leave you susceptible to illness.

Related: Milk Varieties: What’s Right for Your Heart?

2. Positive: Fewer Headaches

Headaches

If you are lactose intolerant, you may find giving up dairy decreases your risk of headaches. In fact, food allergies may increase your risk of migraine headaches. According to Enzymedica, a study of 76 children with migraines found that 39% had headaches triggered by cow’s milk. Dr. Ronald Hoffman of Intelligent Medicine asserts that the caseins in milk and dairy products may be responsible for dairy-related headaches. Whey is another component of milk that may trigger an allergy-induced headache.

1. Negative: Deficiency in Certain Nutrients

Nutrient Levels

In addition to fats, dairy products also contain critical nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and riboflavin. If you choose to give up dairy, be sure to consume other nutritious food sources of the vitamins and minerals it contains. Sardines, spinach, kale, and chia seeds are non-dairy sources of calcium. You can obtain vitamin D from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and herring. Egg yolks also contain this crucial vitamin. Phosphorus-containing foods include nuts and seeds, whole grains, and seafood.

Related: How to Keep Milk at Its Freshest
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