to dairy or not to dairy?

dairy or not to dairy? that is the question.

I am glad that at least one of my readers is curious to why certain foods are harmful! For our Spring Leaning Paleo Diet Challenge we have cut dairy. Dairy, along with cereal grains and table sugar, comprise about 70% of the American diet.

Why would we cut this staple food? Is the evidence black-and-white?

I wish I could tell you that it is, but the jury is still out on dairy products. There is not conclusive evidence to say All dairy is bad, but still less conclusive evidence to claim All dairy is good for you.

Let’s look at why dairy is out for the Paleo Challenge.

But first, my background with dairy. I grew up drinking 2% milk and eating cereal like it was going out of style. I LOVE cereal. I remember living with two of my best friends in Knoxville and demanding that we always have a sufficient supply of milk (I was a different person back then ;). I claimed I would experience ultimate happiness and joy if I had an IV of milk.

I loved it.

Somehow I was conned into believing that I should drink skim milk over 2% and slowly made the switch to this paint-water substance. I lied and told everyone I loved it, that it was delicious and great.

It’s amazing the lengths we’ll go to for self-denial, huh?

So here are a few major reasons to avoid dairy, but you will have to decide for yourself:

Weight loss. Whether you have 5 or 50 pounds to lose, people tend to have more success when they cut out dairy. Plateaus are overcome and puffiness disappears. It works.


Milk, whole and skim, doesn’t have much sugar yet causes an abnormally  large insulin response. This happens if whole or skim milk is consumed alone or with food. This matters because if you are trying to lose weight and have insulin resistance, your body’s hormones do not have an opportunity to reset themselves in the presence of dairy. Insulin spikes after any dairy consumption.

If you suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes you will have a much harder time controlling your blood sugar with dairy in your diet than without it.

Aging. Chronic hyperclycemia, high blood sugar, is known to hasten the production of Advanced Glycated End products (AGEs). Like the name sounds, AGEs accelerate aging like wrinkling, but also have the ability to modify proteins and lipids in our bodies to render them harmful – like oxidized LDL.

Since lots of milk consumption can cause chronically high blood sugar levels because of its large insulin response, it can contribute to our blood levels of AGEs.

A high concentration of AGEs is found in diabetic patients as well as other degenerative diseases, like coronary artery disease.

Hypoglycaemia. In addition to an abnormal insulin spike, mentioned above, milk also induces hypoglycaemia, low blood sugar, within 60 min. of consumption. This is similar to high glycemic load foods that are thought to be players in insulin resistance. A constant spike and drop in blood glucose levels makes for a scary roller coaster indeed. Once you drop, you need sugar again to spike your glucose, and on and on and on.

Leaky gut. There is some evidence that dairy increases intestinal permeability and travels from the intestines out into the body, causing an immune response and inflammation.

In addition to these reasons, dairy has also been implicated in acne and gastrointestinal problems. It is also important to not that many are lactose-intolerant are just do not know it because they have drank milk consistently from birth. They may believe their gastrointestinal discomfort is normal and a part of life.

Dairy is also thought to be partially responsible for younger and younger puberty-onset among girls because of the growth hormone levels, natural and added.

I hope you have found this synopsis useful in your decision-making about dairy. For me? I have better results without it, but occasionally consume heavy whipping cream, ice cream and butter.

Your solution? Cut it out for 30 days. See how you feel, your energy levels and when you’re hungry.

Thoughts? Comment below!


Dissociation of the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses to whole and skimmed milk. Hoyt, G., Hicky, M.S., and Cordain, L. British Journal of Nutrition 2005:93, 175-177.

the western lifestyle and diseases of civilization. Carrera-Bastos, P., Fontes-Vilalba, M., O’Keefe, J.H., Lindeberg, S., Cordain, L. Research Reports in Clinical Cardiology 2011:2, 15-35.



  • Whitney Hardy

    Reply Reply April 6, 2011

    Love this post! I’ve been contemplating the Paleo Challenge for a few weeks now, but my book has not come in the mail yet. Since we’re about to have a kid and I’m going to be responsible for producing all of her nutritional needs, I feel a huge pull to do more to make sure she’s getting all that she needs and only what she needs. I’ve been eating better while I’ve been pregnant, but when the hormones start talking, I start eating lol. I’ll probably pester you for advice on all things Paleo soon 🙂

    • gerilyn

      Reply Reply April 6, 2011

      Sweet! Let me know what you think of the book! And that is a huge responsibility caring for two! Check out Sarah Fragoso at and for some great info from women that have been there!

      P.S. Sarah is coming to Tennessee May 7! 🙂

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