Nutrition Supplementation

Should you eliminate dairy products from your diet?

Recently, the diet excluding dairy products is finding a growing group of followers. The arguments used by the enthusiasts of the said system are often of poor quality, and unjustified rejection of such products may have unpredictable consequences in the long-term.

Indeed, sometimes, the elimination of dairy products is necessary, which is due to, among others, Cow’s milk allergy. However, it occurs in up to 7% of children under one year of age and usually passes over time. It is undoubtedly less common in older children and adults [1]. In this case, it is one of the few actual indications to exclude dairy products.

Another argument is that people do not digest lactose. In fact, in global terms, a large percentage of the population have difficulty in digesting this sugar. Taking into account our country, however, this percentage is really small [1]. What’s more, you can reach for non-monocyte counterparts or dairy products that do not contain this disaccharide (such as rennet cheeses).

The conviction about “increased production of mucus”, although some circles have been rooted, has nothing to do with the truth [2,3]. Likewise, it is in the belief that UHT milk is a worthless, milk-like product. Indeed, certain loss of vitamins during sterilization is recorded. These milks are therefore depleted, but certainly not sterilized. However, in contrast to “milk straight from the cow” are free of pathogens, such as Salmonella or E.Coli [4,5]. The view that no other animals drink the milk of other mammals should be asked with question: “Do any other animals drink coffee?”

Why is it not worth giving up milk products?

Dairy products are a great source of calcium, where long-ripening cheeses, such as parmesan cheese, can contain up to 1380 mg of the mentioned compound [6]. The daily requirement for calcium for an adult human is on average 1000 mg [7]. It turns out that dairy products contribute to the consumption of approx. 52-65% of calcium in the diet [8]. The rest is easily supplemented with other conventional food or mineral water.

Unfortunately, calcium is an extremely sensitive ingredient in women who consume relatively less energy than men. It seems to be particularly problematic when eliminating dairy products. According to some data, women aged 19-50, who do not consume dairy products, satisfy on average 44% of the recommended calcium intake [8]. Long-term use of such a deficient feeding system may be associated with health consequences, such as reduced bone mineral density or increased risk of osteoporosis [9]. The adequate consumption of calcium in childhood and adolescence seems to be very important. It is believed that in adulthood, the role of calcium in the diet is probably smaller and may affect mainly the rate of loss of bone mineral density [9].

Calcium contained in dairy foods is however covered with full of myths. It is worth noting, however, that it is characterized by high absorption speed, high availability and relatively low cost, which is why it is recommended to use dairy products in appropriate, moderate amounts [8].

Dairy products are also definitely a good source of protein [7]. Because they are characterized by a high content of a particular amino acid, which is leucine (> 10%), compared to plant protein sources, they have different ability to stimulate MPS in both resting and post-exercise conditions [10]. It has an extraordinary meaning for people who want to shape their figure and develop muscle mass.


An unfounded abandonment of dairy products may be associated with insufficient calcium intake, which in the long term often results in problems with bone mineral density. If there are actually indications for the elimination of dairy products or this is due to ethical issues – it makes it difficult to provide the recommended amounts of calcium, but this is not impossible. A great alternative are fortified products, such as soya drinks with the addition of calcium, legumes and mineral water.

I repeat, however, the consumption of dairy foods is not necessary, but their appropriate, moderate consumption may be part of a full-value diet. One should also not overdo it and supplement it extensively, because of the high content of saturated fatty acids in some of these types of products.


1.Ludman S. i in. Managing cows’ milk allergy in children. BMJ. 2013;347.
2.Wüthrich B. i in. Milk Consumption Does Not Lead to Mucus Production or Occurrence of Asthma. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005;24(sup6):547–555.
3.Pinnock C.B. i in. Relationship between Milk Intake and Mucus Production in Adult Volunteers Challenged with Rhinovirus-2. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1990 Feb;141(2):352-6.
4.Lucey J.A., Raw Milk Consumption: Risks and Benefits., Nutr Today. 2015 Jul;50(4):189-193. 2015 Jun 27.
5.Scott K. J., Nutrient content of milk and milk products: vitamins of the B complex and vitamin C in retail market milk and milk products, International Journal of Dairy Technology 39(1):32 – 35 Aug 2007
7.Jarosz M., Normy żywienia dla populacji Polski, Instytut Żywności i Żywienia, Warszawa, 2017
8.Rozenberg S. i in. Effects of Dairy Products Consumption on Health: Benefits and Beliefs—A Commentary from the Belgian Bone Club and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases. Calcif Tissue Int. 2016 Jan;98(1):1-17.
9.Wadolowska L. i in. Dairy Products, Dietary Calcium and Bone Health: Possibility of Prevention of Osteoporosis in Women: The Polish Experience. Nutrients. 2013 Jul 16;5(7):2684-707.

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