Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
11 Jan

Dairy and Its Effect on Insulin Secretion (and What It Means for Your Waistline)

dairyinsulinInsulin is an old, old hormone. Evolution has preserved its structure across hundreds of millions of years and hundreds of thousands of species. Fish, insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals all secrete insulin with fairly similar amino acid arrangements (insulin from certain species of fish has even been clinically effective in humans), so, clearly, it is a vital hormone. But insulin gets a bad rap in our circles. Why? With metabolic syndrome laying waste to the citizenry and with insulin playing an undeniable role, it’s difficult not to be soured on this hormone.

And yet we need insulin to shuttle all sorts of nutrients into cells, like protein and glycogen into muscles. It’s there for a reason, so to demonize it is misguided. It’s chronically elevated insulin and insulin resistance – you know, the hallmarks of metabolic syndrome – that are the problem. You might have noticed a softening stance on carbohydrates around the paleo and Primal blogosphere. I think it’s simply an acknowledgment that in healthy people with healthy glucose control and healthy insulin responses who engage in glycolytic activity, starch is fine in measured amounts. And if insulin increases to shuttle that starch and protein into the insulin sensitive muscle cells, so be it. That’s why it’s there.

But not everyone (anyone?) lives a perfect Primal existence. And even if you did an understanding of how insulin works and what foods and behaviors affect it’s production should be high priority. Especially for the millions of people immersed in the modern, industrial lifestyle, with deranged metabolisms from years of poor eating habits (i.e. most of us).

Which brings us to dairy and its effect on insulin.

Dairy intake, you see, stimulates insulin secretion. Lots and lots of it – more than can be explained by the lactose (a sugar) content. In fact, the lactose content of dairy doesn’t even have a big insulin effect when compared to other carbs. This is surprising to some, since the general understanding is that insulin is released primarily in response to carbohydrate intake. What gives? Well, in evolutionary terms, think about a growing beast needing to maximize the utility of every drop of the precious liquid. With dairy, it’s the protein plus the carbs that are responsible for the large insulin release. Take milk, the most egregious “offender.” Both skim and whole milk (PDF) elicit significant insulin responses that you wouldn’t predict from looking at their protein and carb contents, and the fat in whole milk doesn’t blunt it (maybe non-homogenized whole milk would be a different story… I don’t know). Cream and butter are not particularly insulinogenic, while milk of all kinds, yogurt, cottage cheese, and anything with casein or whey, including powders and cottage cheese, elicits a significant insulin response. In one study (PDF), milk was even more insulinogenic than white bread, but less so than whey protein with added lactose and cheese with added lactose. Another study (PDF) found that full-fat fermented milk products and regular full-fat milk were about as insulinogenic as white bread.

What’s going on here? It comes down to the amino acid composition of dairy proteins, specifically the amino acids leucine, valine, lysine, and isoleucine. These are the truly insulinogenic proteins, and they’re highest in whey (which is probably why whey protein elicits the biggest insulin response).

This isn’t new. I’ve written about protein’s insulinogenicity before, but dairy goes above and beyond Primal protein sources like meat, eggs, and fish. The question we should be asking is this: if you wish to include dairy in your diet AND have no issues with lactose or casein intolerance are the insulinogenic properties of certain types of dairy still problematic from the standpoint of health and/or weight control?

This study claims they are. Children were given strict diets of either lean beef or skim milk, and the skim milk diet induced hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance after just seven days. It sounds troublesome, but they used skim milk – a refined, fundamentally altered food. I’m not prepared to render judgment. Another study found that dairy failed to improve insulin and the metabolic risk parameters in overweight and obese subjects, but it again used low-fat dairy instead of full-fat dairy. I’m simply not convinced they’re interchangeable.

If full-fat dairy really did have similarly negative effects on the insulin response that eventually led to the metabolic syndrome, you wouldn’t see studies showing that people who ate the most dairy fat were at the lowest risk for diabetes. You also wouldn’t see the high number of epidemiological studies (I know, I know) linking full-fat dairy intake with lower risk of heart disease and stroke, both of which are strongly linked with insulin resistance.

I think it’s more accurate to say that acute insulin spikes are different from chronically elevated insulin levels, especially when it comes to appetite regulation and metabolic derangement. Consider this study, whose authors gave either whey protein isolate or whey protein hydrolysate to subjects 30 minutes before a pizza meal. Subjects given whey protein isolate, but not hydrolysate, reduced post meal blood glucose and insulin levels, and ate less pizza. The whey still released insulin, but it didn’t linger for very long and it led to improved post meal numbers. It wasn’t chronically elevated. The subjects weren’t hungrier, contrary to what you might expect from someone who’d just experienced a jump in insulin.

No Easy Answer.

Dairy’s not for everyone. I don’t like milk, so I stick to good cheese, pastured butter, cream and the whey in Primal Fuel when I’m in a hurry, while avoiding most straight-up milk, but I think good milk may be fine for many people. As always, experiment. Dairy seems to stall weight loss for some people, so you might try taking it out of the diet if you can’t lean out. Dairy also seems to improve strength and mass gains for lifters, so you might try adding it if you’ve been lifting particularly hard. See what works, and what doesn’t. Insulin doesn’t have to be feared as much as it should be managed, just so long as the rest of your metabolic toolkit – in which insulin takes a prominent position – is in order, you’ve got stress dialed in (or out), you’re getting good sleep, and you’re putting in the necessary physical work.

It’s also important to consider the big picture when judging the suitability of various foods. It helps to tell stories about the food we eat, to think about narratives. Grains aren’t just little morsels of protein, carbs, and fiber bred for our enjoyment. They are baby plant eggs. Those macronutrients are there to sustain the seed’s growth and those micronutrients are there to protect it. They are the plant’s lifeline to immortality. They are literally shaped by the hand of evolution to survive and ravage the digestive tract of the poor sap that swallows them and discourage further consumption. Grain is only food because we deemed it so. Dairy? Dairy is objectively, absolutely food. Its fat, protein, and carbs are there to be consumed, albeit by young cows, sheep, and goats. It’s meant to spur growth, to pack on muscle and fat and weight. And yeah, eating dairy protein causes an insulin spike, but that can be useful if you know what you’re doing.

In the end, personal results matter most. Health outcomes concern us; detached insulin response numbers sitting in a table in some paper mean little if your personal experiences corroborate the evidence that consistently shows that untouched, full-fat dairy likely promotes better glucose tolerance, better weight control, and more resistance to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. On the other hand, those studies mean little to the person whose weight loss stalls after a couple glasses of non-homogenized, raw pastured milk. Try as we might, we can’t – nor should we – ignore our own experiences. Have your experiences with dairy been positive or negative? Let the answer to that question supersede what PubMed says.

Some suggestions:

  • Go fermented. Stick to full-fat yogurt, kefir, and cheese.
  • Go heavy. Stick to butter, cream, and half-and-half.
  • Go pastured. Find a source of pastured dairy. From what I understand, Trader Joe’s carries a cream-top organic milk that hails from the Strauss Family Creamery in Northern California (they never provide sources, but the TJs stuff tastes remarkably similar to the glass bottle stuff from Strauss and the cream has the same consistency), which uses mostly grass and grass silage. Their “European Style Yogurt” also comes from Strauss and is very good (and cheaper than Strauss-labeled yogurt in other stores).
  • Go raw. Stick to trusted sources.

What are your experiences with dairy’s insulinogenic effects? They are very real, but do they seem to bother you? Are you worried about insulin spikes in response to dairy protein?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Hard to beat cottage cheese for protein.

    rob wrote on January 11th, 2011
  2. My questions on dairy are: What hormones are in different forms of dairy and what are their effects? Do full-fat dairy products have more toxins than non-fat products?

    Over 4 years, I have gone from non-fat yogurt, then to home-made creme fraiche (fermented cream), and now to no dairy. I think the area under my eyes is less puffy in the morning with no dairy. Creme fraiche is too delicious!

    Mark from Morris, IL wrote on January 11th, 2011
  3. Over the past few months I have cut out all dairy and have found an amazing relief from joint pain, specifically in a bad knee (tendinitis) that I had for a couple years. After months of physical therapy I still could not exercise as much as I wanted, but after I cut out dairy from my diet the strength that came back in my knee was amazing to me. Over the holidays I slacked and ate things containing dairy and the pain and weakness came right back, so I am convinced that in my case dairy causes terrible inflammation. I’m not sure why this is, but personally the gain I experience much outweighs the loss of eating dairy.

    Monica wrote on January 11th, 2011
    • Art De Vany talks a lot about the inflammatory issues with dairy over at his website. I think if dairy is your trigger, it’s your trigger, simple, you know what works for you, so stick with it.

      Kelda wrote on January 12th, 2011
  4. Well. I’m almost dairy free now anyway. At least for the month.
    I’m using a splash of grass-fed, vat pasteurized, non homogenized heavy whipping cream in my almond milk latte each day because without a splash of cream I kinda find it nasty. But thats the best substitute I’ve managed for my morning coffee routine.
    I just ate the last piece of cheddar cheese I had in the fridge so all I have left is the cream for my coffee and a small amount of sour cream that I don’t use very often anyway. Here goes the (mostly) dairy free experiment!

    Noctiluca wrote on January 11th, 2011
  5. I find that whey protein isolate (unflavored) has been very helpful (to me) in keeping my blood sugar numbers under control. I use a shake (8oz) twice a day as a snack.

    rik wrote on January 11th, 2011
  6. Mark, thank you for presenting this subject in an open, honest, and balanced matter. Too often, discussion of dairy focuses solely on it’s conventional counterpart and not on real food substance. It drives me absolutely nuts.

    I am admittedly a dairy freak. I consume likely a gallon and a half of raw milk, approx 1qt of home made 24-hour fermented raw milk yogurt, and I commonly snack on raw milk cheddar… and to my knowledge I have never displayed any negative symptoms from this.

    In my opinion, it is likely due to my unique genetics. I am of English and German descent. My father’s side (the one’s from southern England) was all dairy farmers; my father was born and raised on the farm and every other generation was a farmer up to ~400yrs ago when the family immigrated to the US).

    Josh wrote on January 11th, 2011
  7. I just finished reading “The Devil in the Milk” which talks about a mutation that occurred in dairy cows about 5000 years ago. Cows that carry the gene for A1 milk produce this protein that is readily cleaved into an opiate-like product that is linked (epidemiologically and anecdotally) to heart disease, type I diabetes, autism, schizophrenia, and autoimmune disorders. For some, the answer may be to have only A2 milk and milk products. Unfortunately, it’s hard (impossible) to find A2-only cow milk. A2 is naturally found in goat, sheep, and *gasp* human milk.

    September wrote on January 11th, 2011
    • I would like toad that some people who think their problems are with lactose (the milk sugar), may actually be having a problem with the casein (the milk protein). Switching to goat’s milk-derived products for a while could provide the answer.

      September wrote on January 11th, 2011
  8. Drink raw whole milk its a completly differnt food from pasturized milk. When I switched to raw milk my seasonal allergies of 20 years disapered.If you spend a little time doing the research you will be amazed at the differece it can make.

    Dr. Ron wrote on January 11th, 2011
  9. I love raw milk and have finally located some in my new area! I was in the best shape of my life while drinking the stuff on a daily basis and making butter, whip cream(w/o sugar) and all kinds of good stuff. I was also in college and could workout and eat whenever I felt like it so that definitely didn’t hurt. I highly recommend the stuff as you will never return to the grocery store for regular whole organic milk! Get some eggs from the same farm too!

    Mike wrote on January 11th, 2011
  10. I used to drink LOTS of milk then quit because I read over and over again that there is a strong link to dairy and acne. My acne started to improve immediately and I have avoided straight up milk ever since then.

    I avoid dairy for the most part beside butter once in a while (I mostly use coconut oil) and raw cheese that my local farm sells.

    Primal Toad wrote on January 11th, 2011
  11. I don’t know. After reading the article and the following posts I think I left with less than what I came with. I’m a fan of simplicity, so if in doubt I don’t eat it. The more I learn about pb eating the more I realize that food choices are not as simple as avoid grains and sugar. I think Mark did a fantastic job in the Primal Blueprint of keeping things simple. But not being a nutritionist this debate is way over my head. As such I return to the eternal question… what would grok do? Frankly, I don’t see him drinking milk in any form. So plants and animals for me. Animal milk is for their young.

    Gorm wrote on January 11th, 2011
    • I dont’ think using “what would Grok do?” is a good way.

      by the same token, i also don’t see Grok drinking almond milk nor coconut milk nor protein powder drink either; they are all more processed than full fat whole milk in my opinion.

      also, almonds or fruits are also for the their “young” as well. both are not meant for human (adults or young children) either.

      it’s still up to the individual; Mark said it best.

      regards,

      PHK wrote on January 13th, 2011
  12. Some people I know who have had prior mild-to-moderate issues with most milk foods, tried this technique: “chewing” the milk, warming it up (to the temp it naturally comes out as lol) and mixing it with saliva, and this no longer produced the gastro discomfort previously experienced. Would this saliva/warming technique have any effect on the insulin response?

    ILovePrimal wrote on January 11th, 2011
  13. Possessive “its” takes no apostrophe.

    Brennan wrote on January 12th, 2011
  14. I’ve been thinking about reducing dairy. My weight loss has really slowed- and that might be the culprit. My first 60 lbs of weight came off pretty easily despite drinking at least one glass of whole milk a day. We drink Snowville Farms non homogonized whole milk.

    Sonia wrote on January 12th, 2011
  15. I just finished reading Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Great book and one of the things he talks about is that the average Americans diet causes them to excrete a good part of the calcium that they take in. This is why taking in extra calcium from dairy or supplements is the wrong approach. A better way is to eliminate the junk and processed food that causes this.

    John wrote on January 12th, 2011
  16. So assuming no metabolic derangement or lactose intolerance for an active individual with low body fat which is best: whey, hydro whey, or milk?

    TJ wrote on January 12th, 2011
  17. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this great article. If grains are baby plant eggs, and they are not real foods, does the same logic apply to the eggs of birds?

    Aside from joking, I would love to see a ‘Definitive Guide on Eggs’ in your web site.

    Mert wrote on January 12th, 2011
  18. I think a lot of this stuff comes down to what your ultimate goal is. Quite frankly I think from a performance standpoint milk is a great benefit to athletes and competitive spirited individuals. If you are trying to drop off some extra body fat it might be best to go elsewhere for your calcium needs. TJ maybe that answers your question but my guess would be whole raw milk(if possible) for you since fat isn’t an issue. Then I’d say whey as a close 2nd place but all 3 are good alternatives. I’m just going on experimentation from my personal experience and raw milk had me in the best physical looking and strength and conditioning wise.

    Mike wrote on January 12th, 2011
  19. Hey Mark, I ruled out milk a long time ago. Milk is fed to babies because it is nutrient high and highly anabolic. And as adults, I assume that if you drink enough of it and don’t lift weights on a regular basis, that milk is going to add fat to your body. Not to mention that if you don’t drink raw or organic milk, it is full of hormones, and antibiotics from the wonderful treatment of factory farmed animals. Gross. I do eat some greek yogurt and some cheese, but that’s about it.

    Susan wrote on January 12th, 2011
  20. I love milk, cheese, cream and butter anyway. I’ve never noticed any problems with it.

    I’ve just today started going through the primal fitness ebook trying my luck at the five essential movements and the burst of exercise has left me feeling amazing! :D
    Very pleased to see dairy can help towards muscle in some way too!

    Another reason I really enjoyed this post is because I’m doing a Psychology A level (UK) and we are studying eating behaviour.
    I have an essay in for tomorrow on body responses to hunger and fullness INCLUDING insulin!
    :D Awesome timing, thanks Mark.

    Jo wrote on January 12th, 2011
  21. Great post, Mark. I’ve just given up all dairy after I’ve found it impossible to lose weight while eating butter, cheese, whey protein and cream. I have pcos and severe insulin resistance, and realised the more dairy I was eating, the worse my pcos symptoms got.

    I also did some reading around and was interested in the fact that dairy products contain higher levels of IGF-1 – for the purpose of making little cows grow into very big cows, very quickly – and that IGF-1 is particularly bad for those with pcos. Would be interested on your take on this.

    mackie wrote on January 12th, 2011
  22. Has anyone tried Blue Diamond’s unsweetened almond milk. One carb per cup and pretty tasty. I’m interested to hear what the primal community thinks about it.

    Scott wrote on January 12th, 2011
    • Found this all interesting. When I had my first 2 children, we were living on a farm that my husband was working on and had access to all the fresh raw milk we wanted. Everyone drank it including my children after I finished nursing them aroung 6-9 months. Interestingly, none of us were fat or got fat. They still aren’t. With my third baby, I didn’t have that luxury and I gained 50 lbs. instead of the usual 30. Don’t know if there is a correlation, but definitely worth noting.

      Vickie wrote on January 12th, 2011
    • Since all dairy (cow and goat)makes my respiratory allergies act up, I don’t do dairy anymore. I’m a tea drinker and need something to sub for cream in my tea. I used, and really liked, the Blue Diamond unsweetened original almond milk for a very long time but have now switched to So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk beverage, with it’s better fats (plus it’s “creamier” in my tea).

      Nancy wrote on January 12th, 2011
      • Does the Blue Diamond and So Delicious contain carrageenan? It’s supposed to be a nasty substance in our bodies (it’s always something!) ;)

        Tee Dee wrote on December 7th, 2013
  23. I get so fed up with people giving milk a bad rap. All the books and websites NEVER seem to specify they’re talking about commercial, pasteurized, homogenized milk…basically sugar water. Whole, unprocessed, unpasteurized milk, preferebly from goats, is one of the most complete, nearly perfect foods on earth. Pasteurization kills all the enzymes in milk as well as the beneficial probiotics that keep any “bad” bacteria in check. That’s why “real” milk will simply curdle at room temperature and pasteurized milk spoils. “Real” milk, preferably fermented, like Kefir or Yogurt (the sugar gets consumed by the probiotics) is an outstanding form of protein, B vitamins and a huge, HUGE list of other co-factors. The probiotics consume the sugar and pre-digest the proteins, making them virtually, immediately absorbable by your body. All these stories need to specify they’re NOT talking about “real” milk.

    Luke wrote on January 12th, 2011
  24. i love love love cheese… it is my favorite dessert – triple cream brie please…or any other high end cheese really. i have not met one i do not like. i also love taking my frozen berries and mixing it with half and half the whole mixture only fills half of a normal 8oz coffee cup and i just mix it until i make ice cream as the ceramic cup lets the cream freeze while being mixed with the berries….. best treat ever. interesting thing that as a child i was told by my parents chiropractor that i had an allergy to milk/dairy and that was why i was a bed wetter as it made me really hyper and i would expend more energy than my little body had so when i would go to sleep there was no physical way my body could wake up because it was in such an energy deprived state. They took me off of dairy and poof i was able to wake up in the night….it always baffled me as to why this was the case but after reading this post it kind of makes sense.

    beth wrote on January 12th, 2011
  25. When I was a small boy, I absolutely hated drinking milk. But it was practically forced on me by my other family members. Too bad they didn’t just leave me alone. Especially since the family drank skim milk! (Yuck) Today I drink whole milk, and eat butter and cheese. It’s still early on in my Primal journey, but while I haven’t lost any weight (as if that matters really), I’m definitely losing fat around my waist. My cheeks even look less rounded. Perhaps I would lose more fat faster if I cut dairy out completely, and maybe I’ll try that eventually. It’s just hard enough to ditch cereal grains and processed sugar as it is without losing everything at once! :)

    Jon wrote on January 13th, 2011
  26. Great minds think alike! just finished reading a post on the same subject on PaNu’s blog:http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2010/1/11/insulinogenic-is-not-hyperglycemic.html

    Sondra Rose wrote on January 13th, 2011
    • Thanks for the link, Sondra – I was getting confused between insulinogenic and hyperglycemic and wondering why I can eat dairy with very little problem (except the occasional grumbly tummy and probable contribution to my slowed weight loss), and yet white bread, which is supposedly less insulinogenic than dairy, knocks me for six (and yes, I suspect I’m gluten intolerant as well, but that wouldn’t explain the bad reaction to potatoes and rice as well). Though I had a little trouble following some of the science in the article, it did clarify that, though they’re closely related, insulin production doesn’t necessarily equate to glycemic load.

      Ann wrote on January 14th, 2011
  27. I can’t thank you enough for this post. I have been following Dr. Eades (of Protein Power) 6 Week Cure for the Middle Age Middle which involves drinking three, yes, count them THREE whey shakes per day. Not only that, he recommends, for someone in my weight range, three scoops per shake (15 g protein per scoop). How the heck is this going to produce weight loss when it is most of your meals and it creates such a large insulin response? I asked him for a response on his blog, but my comment seems to be deleted. Thank you again.

    I bought your book Primal Blueprint with a gift certificate from to BN from my employer. I am hoping for better success! I am intrigued.

    I love your youtube videos! I’m working on the exercises.

    KT wrote on January 13th, 2011
  28. Recently read your books and moving to primal lifestyle. Milk in small doses is ok for me but in past if I have ramped up intake I get quite an allergic reaction.. Rash, itchy, and at times seems to encourage chesty cough and mucus production so I stay away as much as possible from it… Still like a bit of cheese though.

    Paul wrote on January 14th, 2011
  29. First off excellent article. This gives me food for thought as I think about the effect my increased dairy consumption in my ketogenic IF diet.

    It maybe the added fasting in my diet, but I’m losing inches and weight at a dramatic rate even though I usually drink a cup of heavy cream as an appetizer with every dinner.

    I’m actually at the point where at the level of powerlifting I’m doing that I need to raise my insulin after a workout and consume more sugar to aid in recovery.

    Matthew wrote on January 14th, 2011
  30. I love this sentence at the end:

    “Health outcomes concern us; detached insulin response numbers sitting in a table in some paper mean little if your personal experiences corroborate the evidence that consistently shows that untouched, full-fat dairy likely promotes better glucose tolerance, better weight control, and more resistance to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.”

    I’ve been using 5 main dairy components as basically staples in my diet over the last 5 months.

    1. Pastured Butter
    2. Organic Heavy Cream (with zero other ingredients)
    3. Cheeses with pure ingredients
    4. Raw Milk Grass Fed Whey Protein Concentrate (PW drink)
    5. Raw Pastured Whole Milk (very occassional – from Organic Pastures in SoCal)

    My results:

    I’m 5’8 and I’ve gone from 163 to 151 since August 2010. In that time, I’ve consistently hit the weights hard (very hard) and I’ve seen all my lifting rep numbers skyrocket. I’ve gained significant muscle mass (so technically I must have lost more than 12 lbs of fat, since I’ve added muscle and lost 12 lbs net).

    A side note: my sister fully jumped on board. She is 5’3 and went from 164 to 141. She eats the same 5 hgih quality dairy staples.

    Keep in mind that we also eat a very rich diet of pure meats, organic eggs, veggies, some fruits, raw sprouted nuts, low sugar/carbs, using all the right oils and watching ingredients like a hawk.

    As Mark notes in this article, high quality dairy can be big part of your diet if you eat the right stuff and have a healthy metabolism.

    cheers,
    Jack Kronk

    Jack Kronk wrote on January 14th, 2011
  31. Could not agree more about going as raw as possible with dairy. Sadly, it’s becoming harder and harder (and more expensive) to find. The FDA seems to be having a war against raw dairy. My answer? Own a cow and a few chickens of your own. We’re working on just that.

    The Primal Palette wrote on January 15th, 2011
  32. Great Post!
    I eat cheese (fermented ==> Vitamun K2) in amounts most people would deem unhealthy (grin). But I am french.

    And I love KerryGold butter on my peas.

    I would love to eat raw cheese aged LESS than 60 days (has all the good bacteria in it!), but you have to go to Europe for that (illegal in the US).

    But I think you may have missed an important factor as well. It’s called “digestive mobility”. I read a paper where they tested rats w/ cheese vs. milk. Milk outpaced cheese in getting out to the lymph nodes. What may be the “bad part” of milk is that it gets into the system TOO fast and overloads adults (perhaps fine for babies). So the dosing rate effects could be the root cause, whereas cheese (and butter) “move” a lot slower allowing a better response by the adult body.

    Cheers…

    Iluvatar wrote on January 15th, 2011
  33. Hi – I am grateful for this information. I have been desperately trying to find a natural cure for my 7 year old daughter’s eczema condition. After some comments from websites like yours and other friends I immediately cut off all dairy products and her skin improved dramatically, however, her skin flares up with no rime or reason. The doctor has ordered a blood test for Gluten…we’ll see. I was wondering what do you think of Almond milk? Any other natural food that may neutralize eczema? I would truly appreciate an answer.
    One desperate dad!!!

    Henry wrote on January 15th, 2011
    • My chronic eczema completely disappeared when I supplemented Vitamin D to sufficiency (Pre-Primal, too!) See this link for more info: http://www.vitmaindcouncil.org

      Oh, and I still eat lots of dairy–mostly cheese and cream!

      Sondra Rose wrote on January 17th, 2011
    • My wife struggled with eczema for years.
      Last year she went gluten free and her eczema disappeared. Doctors never made the connection, it was just something she tried on a whim. If she slips and eats gluten she will break out shortly thereafter. As long as she is gluten free her skin stays perfect.

      Eli wrote on January 25th, 2011
    • My excema started going away when I gave up grains, and I think nuts aggravated them too. Not sure but maybe worth a shot.

      Daniel wrote on August 13th, 2014
  34. Arnold once said, “Milk is for babies. Men drink beer” :)

    Brian wrote on January 22nd, 2011
  35. I’m glad to see so many people have diverse opinions on this; I’ve been looking for a definitive ‘what to do’ guide for dairy for a while and could never quite find one. I’ve been doing primal for about a month now consciously, and near-primal about a year before that (non-consciously, I just never got much into grains and sugar, other than the occasional chocolate or plate of buckwheat groats) – I’ve actually upped my dairy intake since going primal (not what I should be doing, I know), and I’ve found it only beneficial. These days I consume a lot of cream cheese, full-fat cheese, mascarpone, cream, and the like – basically all the dairy that’s about 99% fat… and it seems to work just like butter. Everything seems to just function better with it. So i’m glad to see there’s some tolerance for it even in the primal lifestyle :)

    Mammoth toppler wrote on February 3rd, 2011
  36. I was glad to see this article. I’ve found milk causes intense stomach pain, so I don’t drink that anymore, but I love cheese, full fat yogurt and cottage cheese and butter. I was concerned to read about the insulin response, but I’m fortunate to be naturally thin. I do Crossfit, and I’ve intuitively felt that if I gave up dairy, I’d waste away to nothingness. I don’t seem to have problems with skin or blood sugar, so I’ll continue to enjoy cheese and yogurt. BUT — it is definitely good to know that it’s not a good choice for everyone.

    Page wrote on February 8th, 2011
  37. Does anybody know anything about the opioids (spelling) in milk?
    Apparently there is a Opium-like substance in milk (that isn’t killed through pasteurization), which makes you long for more….

    When I tried the experiment on my Dachshund it seems that way. He wasn’t hungry and turned his head when I offered the raw goat milk. I took my finger and shoved a few droplets in his mouth…within a minute he turned back to the milk and drank it all.
    Weird.

    Donnersberg wrote on April 17th, 2011
  38. I ran across something interesting about yogurt and carbs today – that the bacteria in yogurt actually eat the lactose in the yogurt so you aren’t actually even getting the carbs and sugar that are listed on the nutrition info. Here is the link – http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/yogurtcarbs.htm

    Beth wrote on April 19th, 2011
  39. this post interests me. Ive been eating primal for about a year and a half now. I am very into olympic style weightlifting and train using the clean and jerk and the snatch, I sometimes train with powerlifting movements as well. in this post mark mentioned dairy having positive effects on some lifters strength and mass gains is slightly confusing, since it mentions that dairy elicits an insulin spike. i was under the impression that insulin can have negative effects on growth hormone levels? would the positive effects of short insulin spikes outweigh the negatives if this is true? he also mentions that the insulin can be helpful “if you know what you’re doing”. this confuses me a lil bit.

    owen wrote on April 21st, 2011
  40. I read somewhere that some proteins in bovine milk look similar to pathogen proteins and trigger an immune response in people. Guess I want my immunesystem to focus on the real bad viruses and bacteria. Haven’t been able to get confirmation on this, but stoppen using dairy untill I know for sure. Using coconutoil instead of butter now.

    André wrote on June 20th, 2011
    • Not exactly. The milk protein is identified as foreign and the body builds antibodies to it, but the milk protein looks similar to natural body proteins — things like collagen — and the body attacks them by mistake.

      Doug F wrote on June 20th, 2011

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