When the body is lacking in lactase, an enzyme that stimulates breakdown of milk sugar, it is advised to discard dairy products from your daily meals.
There are different types of enzyme in our intestine and one of them is lactase, involved in the breakdown of milk sugar (lactose). People with lactase deficiency, a genetic abnormality are advised to follow a diet free from dairy products.
Products derived from the buffalo’s or cow’s milk are commonly referred to as dairy products. Following are the food items excluded from this type of diet:
- Ice Cream
- Bakery products such as cakes, biscuits, and muffins
- Milk or whey protein powder
Milk protein is also found in canned tuna fish and hence has no place in dairy-free diet. Basically, the diet is recommended for people diagnosed with lactose intolerance. The term lactose refers to naturally occurring sugar in milk. As aforementioned the breakdown of milk sugar is done by the enzyme, lactase. Lactose intolerance occurs when the body is unable to produce enough lactase, necessary to disintegrate sugar into glucose and galactose. As a result, the breakdown of milk sugar does not take place and so it is not absorbed by the body. This can lead to symptoms of dairy allergy such as abdominal pain and bloating. Symptoms of certain intestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome can also aggravate upon eating dairy products. So, IBS patients are warned to avoid or minimize consumption of dairy products. Even patients suffering from diarrhea are advised to temporarily stop taking dairy products.
When it comes to weight loss, opting for dairy-free diet can serve the purpose. This is because dairy products are high in calories and loaded with saturated fats that contribute to weight gain. Hence cheese and butter are often excluded from weight loss diet plans. Apart from containing too much of fat, cholesterol content is also found to be high in milk and its byproducts. Eating these dairy products on a daily basis is considered to be one of the primary factors responsible for causing high cholesterol levels. Thus, a natural way to lower elevated cholesterol levels would be to exclude dairy products from everyday meals.
A point to note here is that dairy products are not only good sources of essential nutrients (minerals, particularly calcium and proteins) but also provide energy to the body. That is why a glass of milk in the morning paves way for a high energy day. So, before you decide to follow this diet, one has to think about healthier alternatives to dairy products. Instead of drinking cow’s milk, one can have almond or oat milk. Soy or rice milk are also a good substitute for cow’s or buffalo’s milk. On the other hand, cheese can always be substituted by soy-based or rice-derived products. Patients put on this diet should, without fail eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and fruits daily. This will ensure that the body is not deprived of good supply of essential nutrients. People with lactose intolerance often prefer to include non-dairy cheese or non-dairy yogurt in their diet. Supplemental intake of calcium may also be necessary for people following this type of diet.
Dairy-Free Diet for Breastfeeding Moms
Sometimes, breastfeeding mothers are advised to avoid dairy products, which may help to resolve the baby’s health issues like skin problems, constipation, and diarrhea. It is observed that if parents have some kind of allergy before delivery, then the newborn baby too is susceptible to infant allergies. Studies show that the aforementioned health problems associated with infant allergy can always be brought under control by excluding dairy products from the mother’s diet. For a breastfeeding baby, the primary source of exposure to allergens is the mother’s milk. Babies who have developed infant allergies show a considerable amount of improvement when the mother’s diet is devoid of cow’s milk and its products.
Believe it or not, but otherwise, healthy individuals are not very eager to follow this diet, considering the high nutritional value of dairy products. For them, taking it in moderate amounts is the key to prevent from falling sick and ensure a healthy weight.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.