Is dairy bad for you here are the facts greatist

When it comes to food and health, there’s no shortage of polarizing opinions on any given subject, but if there’s one topic that’s been especially divisive for years, it’s dairy. “There’s a lot of conflicting information about this on the internet, says registered dietitian E.A Stewart. “As a result, a lot of my clients get confused about whether or not to consume dairy.”

Prone to bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, or cramping? If you work under the supervision of a registered dietitian or physician, you may find that those awful symptoms can be attributed to a lactose intolerance, Lydon says. You’re not alone, either. " Sixty-five percent of the world’s population has difficulty digesting milk, thanks to lacking the lactase enzyme necessary to break down cow’s milk,” Harju-Westman says.

Many people find that going easy on the dairy can beat that bloat. Energizing Alternatives

“For example, to combat the lack of calcium in your diet traditionally gained from consuming dairy products, you might replace these with other calcium-rich foods, such as spinach, kale, and white beans,” Harju-Westman says. “These healthier alternatives may well lead to having more energy as your diet becomes packed with more nutrients.” Headache Relief

Eliminating dairy can have a positive effect, but note that it can also be a double-edged sword since it also means you’re cutting vitamin B2 from your diet, a lack of which is associated with migraines. “Make sure you don’t become deficient in B2 by consuming mushrooms, almonds, and spinach, all of which contain considerable amounts of it,” Harju-Westman says. The Cons of Giving Up Dairy You may not meet your nutrition needs.

Registered dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth notes that it’s usually easier for adults to get in the recommended 1000 milligrams of calcium per day with dairy; a cup of yogurt, a serving of cheese, and a glass of milk does the trick. Most non-dairy calcium sources contain less of the mineral than dairy sources, so it takes several more servings of foods like tofu, dark greens, salmon, and soy milk to hit the same goal. What’s more, many of these plant-based calcium sources have natural substances that inhibit the body’s ability to effectively absorb their calcium, says Largeman-Roth.

In addition to providing calcium, dairy is also a great way to get in phosphorus and niacin, both of which contribute to bone and cardiovascular health. “It’s no wonder that research shows consuming dairy products are associated with lower risks of osteoporosis, heart disease, and diabetes,” Lydon says. Your good gut bacteria might suffer.

On one hand, giving dairy the boot can work wonders for folks suffering from bloat and indigestion. On the other, it can mess with the bacteria in your gut. “ Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir contain probiotics to help promote a healthy gut microbiome,” Stewart says. If you aren’t lactose-intolerant, keeping certain fermented forms of dairy in your diet can be more helpful than harmful for your gut health. Your immunity might take a hit.

Less dairy, more colds? While the correlation isn’t quite that direct, you may find that when you stop eating milk products, you’re more tired, or you pick up illnesses more quickly. This could be because you’re lacking in vitamin B12, which is commonly found in dairy and helps to regulate your immune system and fight off unwanted bacteria, Harju-Westman says. Largeman-Roth adds that it could also be because you’re missing out on vitamin D, which can leave your immune system more susceptible to infections. Consult your doctor about whether to take B12 or vitamin D supplements (but either way, stick to getting your flu shot). It might mess with your mind.

“ Research shows that the reward and pleasure centers in your brain light up even more in response to foods that are off-limits, potentially leading to binges or episodes of overeating.” If your body doesn’t seem to have a physically negative reaction to dairy, trying to restrict it might actually harm your overall health, rather than benefit it. The Takeaway

If you decide to go dairy-free, be sure you’re making up for any nutrients you may miss out on by opting for healthy substitutes—there are plenty! Get your protein from lean meat or legumes, and calcium from tofu, almonds, or leafy greens. Look to eggs, fatty fish, or fortified plant-based milks to meet your vitamin D requirements and whole grains for phosphorus.