Should You Eliminate Dairy From Your Diet? Get A Dietician’s Point of View

Expert Author: Kaleigh McMordie, Registered Dietitian

As a dietitian, I love dairy. It seems that going dairy free is the ‘cool’ thing to do, with your favorite influencers and wellness gurus touting all kinds of non-dairy alternatives. But is eliminating dairy really the healthy thing to do? 

Read on to learn the reasons why I love dairy products and don’t think eliminating dairy is a great idea unless you really need to.

At the end of this article, you’ll find one of my favorite recipes featuring 4th & Heart Ghee so you can put your new knowledge to good use!

  • Dairy is full of nutrition. Milk and yogurt are full of protein, calcium and other essential nutrients like B vitamins, and vitamins A and D (in fortified versions). Non-dairy alternatives just don’t stack up, especially when it comes to protein and calcium. That’s not to say you can’t get the nutrients found in dairy elsewhere, but it takes more planning. Plus, if you’re already eating something (such as yogurt) you might as well get those nutrient benefits!
  • Dairy products usually contain fewer ingredients. I’m a fan of simple foods with short ingredient lists. If you look at the ingredient labels in most dairy products (like milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, and ghee) they typically have only one to three ingredients. For example yogurt contains milk and live active cultures. Butter contains cream and salt. Cheese contains cream and enzymes. Ghee contains clarified butter (milk). Super simple, pure ingredients. Alternatively, non-dairy alternatives can sometimes have very long ingredient lists, with additives like gums, oils and starches which are necessary to achieve the same functionality and texture of dairy products.
  • Dairy tastes good! If you like dairy products, you don’t have to eliminate them! Most dairy alternatives taste nothing like their real dairy counterparts. Satisfaction is a huge component of  healthy eating. So if you enjoy (and can tolerate) dairy, there’s no reason to eliminate it!
  • There are great lactose-free, real dairy products. For those who are lactose-intolerant but still want to enjoy dairy, there are so many great options! There are milk, yogurt and ice cream brands that have removed the lactose from their products (made from real dairy) so that they can be enjoyed by people who are sensitive to lactose. Ghee is real butter that has been clarified - meaning the milk solids (which contain the lactose and milk protein casein) have been removed, so it makes a great substitute for butter. 

If you like the taste of real dairy and feel good eating it, there’s no need to eliminate it from your diet. Save yourself from trendy substitutions (and a little money!) and use the real thing! 

Now, here’s a delicious recipe using 4th & Heart Ghee, one of my favorite, nutrient-dense cooking oils made from grass-fed butter, to inspire you in the kitchen.

Get the Recipe: Honey Turmeric Sheet Pan Chicken with Cauliflower and Grapes

 About The Expert:

Dietician Kaleigh McMordie of Lively Table

Kaleigh McMordie is a registered dietitian and mom of 2 young girls. She is the author of the blog Lively Table, where she shares simple, delicious recipes using real ingredients, and approachable wellness tips. It's her goal to take the stress out of food and healthy living.

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