Surprising Side Effects of Giving Up Milk, Says Dietitian — Eat This Not That

By Ghuman


Giving up milk may seem like a simple dietary change, but it can have some surprising side effects. According to dietitian and nutritionist, Dr. Sarah Krieger, giving up milk can lead to deficiencies in important vitamins and minerals, as well as an increased risk of certain health conditions. In this article, we’ll explore the potential side effects of giving up milk and discuss ways to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need.

Surprising Side Effects of Giving Up Milk, Says Dietitian — Eat This Not That

Giving up milk may seem like a simple dietary change, but it can have some unexpected side effects. According to registered dietitian nutritionist, Karen Ansel, there are a few things to consider before you make the switch.

Calcium Deficiency

One of the most common side effects of giving up milk is a calcium deficiency. Milk is a great source of calcium, and when you give it up, you need to find other sources of this important mineral. Ansel recommends eating foods like dark leafy greens, almonds, and sardines to get your calcium fix.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Another side effect of giving up milk is a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so if you’re not getting enough of it, you may not be able to get the calcium you need. Ansel recommends eating foods like salmon, tuna, and eggs to get your vitamin D fix.

Weight Gain

Finally, giving up milk can lead to weight gain. Milk is a great source of protein, and when you give it up, you may not be getting enough protein in your diet. Ansel recommends eating lean proteins like chicken, fish, and beans to make sure you’re getting enough protein.

Giving up milk can have some unexpected side effects, but with the right diet and lifestyle changes, you can still get the nutrients you need. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist to make sure you’re getting the right balance of nutrients.

As our world becomes more and more resourceful, we no longer have to rely on old-school ways of living. For example, when you walk towards the dairy section of the grocery store these days, there are going to be far more options than 2% or whole milk. And, with the increased popularity of dairy-free, alternative milk such as oat milk, almond milk, skim milk, soy milk, and more continue to rise, the want and even need for cow’s milk continues to digress.

“Adults do not need milk,” Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian on our medical expert board and founder of Real Nutrition. “Milk is not an essential ingredient in adult diets and these days there are many substitutes that are fortified with calcium and other vitamins you may have regularly gotten from milk.”

Whether you enjoy drinking milk or not, it’s not a necessity for a healthy lifestyle. It may offer up a great source of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D, but if you gather those nutrients from whole foods, you can still meet your daily requirement, Shapiro suggests.

There are some surprising effects of giving up milk completely that can affect both the mind and body. So, before you gulp down a glass, read on to be certain you can’t benefit from cutting milk from your daily diet.

better skin

Many people drink dairy products throughout their whole lives without knowing they may have an intolerance for them. Once you give up milk, “if you have a sensitivity that you don’t realize, you might see improved skin, less acne or eczema,” Shapiro says. While acne and skin conditions (eczema) are most commonly hereditary, some components of milk can also play a part.

A majority of dairy milk products in the US come from pregnant cows, which contain high levels of problem-causing hormones that can potentially contribute to acne, one study published in Dermato Endocrinol. The review explains how oily pores that foster acne (sebaceous gland) can be highly influenced by milk androgens and hormones, such as insulin and steroid hormones.

bad milk reaction

Besides being lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, there are other allergies or medical conditions associated with consuming milk or daily products. Two of the most common conditions linked to cow’s milk are Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), according to, both of which have uncomfortable effects specifically on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Dairy products (like milk) are one of the biggest triggers of these allergies, due to the proteins and peptides they contain and how they may negatively interact with one’s immune system.

weaker bones

According to Shapiro, if you do end up cutting out cow’s milk, and “you do not get calcium from other sources, then you may be missing out on a good source of calcium which can lead to brittle bones in some individuals.”

The daily recommended amount of calcium varies from country to country, the BBC reports, but you can continue to keep your bones strong with a well-rounded diet, exercise, and including plenty of sources of vitamin D (get that sunshine!).

happy gut health

Eliminating milk from your diet might help manage many digestive problems and support better gut health. You may also experience less gas and bloating throughout the body, Shapiro says.

The lactose in milk can be difficult to digest, which is a major cause of bloating and feeling gassy. Also, when there is an excess amount of lactose in your body, you may develop poor gut symptoms—such as diarrhea—this is a result of your large intestine swelling.

sick woman

Milk won’t be completely curing any illnesses anytime soon, however, it can benefit your body’s functionality and ability to prevent you from getting sick. Dairy products carry crucial amounts of B12, which is necessary for fueling a strong immune system and supporting your body to fight off bacteria.

mood swings

There are “60-some hormones in your average glass of milk,” Dr. Mark Hyman writes, and that includes organic, raw, and bovine growth hormone-free milk. Due to the hormones in cow’s milk, drinking it regularly can increase the natural hormones already in your own body and end up causing you to have mood changes. The body’s necessary sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) are drastically put out of balance. There have been some studies that look at this effect, but they are clear that there needs to be more research done.

READ MORE: One Major Effect of Drinking Whole Milk, Say Experts

Jordan Summers-Marcouillier

Jordan Summers-Marcouillier was born and raised in San Jose, California and now works as a writer in New York, NY. Read more