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

Insulin 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?

TAGS:  hormones

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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234 thoughts on “Dairy and Its Effect on Insulin Secretion (and What It Means for Your Waistline)”

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  1. Thanks so much for this topic. Gauging from the chatter on the message board, this is long overdue.

    I am one of those who is greatly impacted by dairy and its insulinogenic effect. I simply do not/cannot lose weight while on it and see little changes in body composition. In its absence, however, changes are happening quickly. My hemoglobin A1c also took a huge jump down as well.

    Butter and small amounts of heavy cream seem to be okay for me. Anything higher up on the dairy chain is the problem.

    1. Six months ago I had high cholesterol, so, being reasonably health conscious I made immediate changes to my diet, the first being the full removal of dairy. Within three weeks, I’d lost about seven kilos, felt sharp and more engaged than I ever have. My skin looks better, a lot less ear wax, and, minimal suffering through the hay fever season. Maybe I was unaware of personal reactions to dairy, having always consumed it as part of a conventional diet.

      1. That is very interesting that dairy would have that much of an effect. I was allergic to milk (cows) when I was very young. I grew out of it shortly, but still avoid it during hay fever season as it seems to make things worse.

  2. I’ve given up on all dairy except butter and heavy cream, which brings up my question: what about heavy cream? The (so-called) nutrition label says one tablespoon of heavy cream is free of carbs and protein. Is heavy cream an almost pure fat like coconut oil/fat? I love cream but I do not have access to raw cream and must use the grocery store version of “ultra-pasteurized” heavy cream. Is this stuff a viable source of fat? (A very quick, very filling meal: two egg yolks, one whole egg, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup heavy cream, ground nutmeg, vanilla, 1 packet sweetener, mix well. Tastes like ice cream.)

    1. The packet of sweetener in that list could trigger an insulin response as I understand it – the sweet taste in the mouth triggers the system to cope with glucose regardless of whether it arrives in the stomach and then bloodstream.

      1. Smelling food triggers an insulin response, as Gary Taubes wrote in GCBC. So let’s stop smelling food while we’re at it, I… guess? 😛

      2. Kelda’s right. That’s called a cephalic response. Artificial sweetener is perceived as so much sweeter by the tongue, that the brain (hence cephalic) responds by putting the pancreas on high alert in anticipation of a heavy sugar/carb load. Better off using actual “sugar.”

        1. That’s not correct. You do have a slight insulin response from artificial sweetener, but it is not as much as from sucrose. I just read a study about it the other day. Stevia has less of a response than Aspartame, both of which have a lesser response than sugar.


          Protein also triggers an insulin response, as does merely thinking about food. However the amount secreted is very small compared with the amount secreted if sugar is actually consumed.

        2. No,no,no,no,no!!!! This is the biggest myth that exists. A sweet taste in the mouth WILL NOT trigger insulin response. Carbohydrate intake will do it, and that’s it. Your body doesn’t “think” and therefore it cannot be fooled. Please people, this is JUST NOT TRUE!

          1. Jason Fung MD in his book “the obesity code” says that the cephalic response is real. After many years of reading and thinking and studying I have come to the conclusion that a human body is one of the most complex things in the universe and simple answers and simple analyses are very often just wrong. There’s also the variable genetics of each individual! T Colin Campbell has remarked that the charts in biology labs have gotten larger and larger due to the greater understanding of complexity in all of these pathways. I think it’s going to take years of super computer analysis to really get to the bottom of a lot of our issues. I guess I would be scared to use artificial sweeteners now

      1. Butter contains milk solids – that’s why it browns when you cook it and the little bits come out of the suspension after a few minutes of cooking. Clarified butter, or ghee, is the pure milk fat. And the taste is amazing…

        1. yes, but ghee is full of oxidised cholesterol, heavily processed food is bad, why should ghee be any different

      2. FWIW, in the process of churning, whey comes out of the butter. And the carbs are in the whey.

    2. Heavy cream has carbs. 1 tablespoon has 0.42 carbs. There is some rule that if the carbs per serving is <1, a label can claim "0g carb". Cream is not liquid butter. Melted butter is liquid butter.

      1. But at the same time, I would assume that we’re not talking about zero carb and we’re not drinking cream straight. I prefer to use mine in the butter state, as creme fraiche (on a taco bowl where the bowl is actually a bowl and not a fried tortilla) or, if the flavors call for it, whipped. For each of these, I would end up with so little carbs from the dairy that I’d get more in the vegetation.

  3. So what about raw milk? It’s actually been used as a diabetes treatment, very successfully.

    I am currently doing a bit of GOMAD, half gallon of raw milk a day for some mass gain. Going very well so far.

    1. My question exactly.
      ALL those tests and people talking about how horrible they feel using dairy…wish they’d mention if it’s pasteurized dairy…cause that would explain it all.

      1. If you think that warming milk to 160F for a few seconds is causing major satanic changes to it, you’d better stay away from sauna. That’s where humans bake for half an hour at a time at 180+F…and apparently none the worse for it.

        The unpasteurized milk cult is more a religion than a science, and it is impossible to conduct a rational discussion of microbial evolution with its adherents, in my experience.

        1. Good point, but don’t forget pasteurization kills all the bacteria. If other animals’ breast milk is anything like ours, that bacteria was selectively chosen and designed to beneficially colonize the gut – it’s nature’s perfect probiotic…

        2. Heating milk above 140 degrees F does not simply kill bad micro organisms, it also changes the structure of the proteins and enzymes. Then there is the process of homogenization which also causes structural changes in the milk.

        3. If you think that drowning babies in a river is satanic then you better stay out of the bath. Tubs are filled with water that humans sit in for half an hour at a time… and apparently none the worse for it.

        4. Farmer Pat ,
          I am not heated up to 160 when I sit in a Sauna. If I got much over
          100 I would simply die.

          Yes heating milk to high temps kills bacteria and destroys enzymes. It’s not rocket science.

  4. Great post!

    Aged and fermented cheeses from pastured milk are a good source of K2. The Rotterdam study found a strong correlation between K2 intake from Dutch cheese and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

  5. Very Weston Price. But, prior to animal husbandry and domestication non-human dairy would not have been consumed in any significant amount to have been considered part of regular diet, right?

    Maybe if you’re super thirsty you could catch a cow and suck on its udder? Or any other mammal? That just sounds crazy to me.

    But I think you’re spot-on that dairy can be used for body-hacking. Insulin is not the devil, and it has a proper role in evolutionary context. It all depends on your personal philosophy behind eating paleolithic.

    1. People of European decent generally (but not always) have the adaptations to drink milk. Paleo man would not have, but we cannot ignor the small changes to genetics since then. Paleo man would have been able to make a cup, and milk is safe to drink for a few hours at room temperature. No need to suck an udder – that is just silly.

      1. Yeah, they have the adaptation, it’s called fermenting the milk. Raw milk, left to its own devices, begins fermenting fairly quickly. You hardly need to be making your own lactase when the bacteria will do it for you. Even if you drink the stuff before it’s very far gone, if you’ve spent some time getting the lactic acid bacteria which are present in raw milk *anyway*, you’ve got yourself a pretty good gut colony going.

        Which would be why milk’s traditionally been consumed all over Europe, not just in those nations where the people have some sort of rareified mutation that lets them make lactase past weaning age.

        They seem to be making this claim about Swedes, you know, not about Poles or Russians or folks in the Caucasus. But those all drink milk. So do the French. So do the Irish. And on and on.

        1. “Rareified”? The majority of white people produce lactase past weaning age.

          Just because some study you read happened to be about Swedes doesn’t mean they’re the only ones. Yeah, there might be only 7% or so lactose intolerant people in Sweden compared to almost 20% in Poland, but it’s still a clear majority. Simply put, most people in Western, Eastern and Northern Europe do have genes for lactase persistence.

          What you describe is somehow more applicable to Southern Europe, but none of the nations you specifically mention are from there. Sorry, but all of that makes you sound remarkably religious in your anti-milk opinions. Why not check facts instead?

    2. Wouldn’t it be easier for paleo man to hydrate himself eating a lot of fibrous veggies?

      1. Or just drink water? The rivers weren’t chock full of industrial wastes back then.

      2. if you lived on grass plains, it would be hard to find nice juicy veg to quench your thirst, if masai herd cattle, are they paleo, or industrialized?

        1. Masai didn’t/don’t drink the cow’s milk but cow’s blood. They cut an artery in the neck.

    3. Any hunter gatherer, having downed a large mammal that was a nursing female, would drink the milk, as the bushmen of Africa used to before their way of life was destroyed. A huge source of nutrition in an overall diet? Probably not.

      1. Then again cavemen probably didn’t eat as many eggs for as many days of the years as some of us do so that would have also not have been a huge source of nutrition in our diet…

        1. cavemen would have an egg binge during seasonal laying, eggs don’t run fast

    4. “The first person to discover that cow’s milk is drinkable was very, very thirsty.”

      In all seriousness, though, this argument frustrates me. Humans evolved to be one of the most adaptable species on Earth. It’s one of the primary reasons why we managed to populate six continents, every biome… everywhere. We did not become omnipresent solely because of our intellect; rather, it was our ability to adapt to any circumstances thrown our way that allowed us to thrive.

      One of those adaptations is not strict reliance on whatever our ancestors ate. It was the ability (and this ability is present in many animals) to eat anything that our bodies could recognize as food. And, as Mark Sisson pointed out above, milk is unquestionably a food. It is made specifically to be consumed, to be recognizable as a food, and we DO recognize it as a food. We are mammals, and so our bodies know what milk is. Not only that, but we are neotenous mammals, which means that we might more easily develop a tolerance for lactose as we age than other mammals. It’s not nearly as far of a jump, evolutionarily speaking, to be able to digest milk as it is to digest grains.

  6. Liberte makes a great Greek Yogurt that is full fat and unsweetened. As a strength athlete I find I need dairy to get in enough protein (trying to weigh 240lbs lean) and this seems to be the best source other than cottage cheese.

  7. I find the whole dairy question fascinating. I’m convinced there’s alot more to the processed milk versus raw milk debate which has not surfaced. Research on raw milk practically halted since pasteurization was implemented. The last major push on raw was in the late 1920’s/early 1930’s where raw milk was actually used as a *cure* for diabetes (check “milk cure” from Mayo clinic research of that time). Amazing isn’t it? I do eat raw milk products and feel they benefit both my weight and health, but I’d love to see more research on it.

    1. Yes, I’m wondering that , too.
      All research is always done on pasteurized milk, and we all know pasteurized dairy of any kind is BAD.

      Last summer I drank 2-3 gallons of RAW goat’s milk per week and did not gain even an ounce.(not working out or anything)
      When the goat’s needed the milk for their babies and I had to go buy pasteurized milk from the store I gained 8 lbs within 2 months … funny how that works.

      1. I also find it difficult to really use the info about “main stream dairy” because it is so processed and therefore completely different from “Raw dairy” It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Both fruit, but soooo different. I incorporated full fat Raw milk into my diet with out making any other changes and lost 10lbs. It was just about 16 oz a day but the weight just melted off. A happy side effect!

  8. Interesting. I eat a lot of butter, some cream and even less cheese, but very little whole milk (our milk is vat pasteurized and not homogenized) because it DOES stall my weight loss.

    I’d love to be able to see if raw milk has the same effect, but it’s so hard to obtain where I live.

  9. I’ve given up on ALL dairy products and feel much better. My digestion is better and I don’t have chronic allergy-like symptoms. It’s also easier to lose weight eliminating all milk products. Perhaps I have some milk allergy? That said, it’s ludicrous why adult humans consume the milk of another species! What other mammal in the wild does that?

    1. How do we know what other animals do, they don’t use the same global web system we do to communicate!

      1. I once saw a cat on a laptop. I had to get close to see, since he had a diffusing screen protector. He was definitely ordering some squirrel milk on his internets.

    2. Actually dogs, cats, any carnivore probably, will drink all the milk and cream they can, every chance they get. It’s a form of animal fat.

      1. Just cleaned my kitchen cause my cat has spilled milk everywhere, my cats love (raw) milk!

    3. As a matter of fact, all predatory mammals do =).
      Pregnant or lactating mamas are prime targets. A full udder is one of the first parts consumed. This is a common, notable sign of bear predation, for instance–a carcass found with only the viscera and udder missing. Smaller predators simply consume the whole small prey animal, lactation assembly included.

      We predatory omnivores are no different. We’re just more clever than most, and able to extract the dairy without actually killing the lactating mama.

      Some humans fare well on dairy, some don’t. Whole, raw, grass-fed milk is a staple part of my diet. Home-churned, cultured raw butter is a glorious, luxurious “vitamin pill”.

  10. Like Mark, I just plain don’t like milk, but cheese, greek-style yogurt, and cream are all things I consume with some regularity. Omelettes just wouldn’t be the same. I don’t notice and problems, and have gotten quite lean while consuming these, so I don’t see it as something I need to worry about. Like with all forms of anything that increases insulin secretion, the answer is the same: intermittent fasting. Get that insulin down by eating NOTHING sometimes, then the spikes are not only lower (higher sensitivity), but can actually be good as they get leptin levels up (refeeds). If you’re not allergic, eat cheese, it tastes good.

  11. my son is a small farmer in VA, and he put me on to this organization: http://www.farmtoconsumer.org . the FDA is giving hell to small producers trying to sell their “clean” organic, raw, grass-fed, dairy products to people like us. makes me so furious….

    1. And 10 years later it is still hard to find raw milk, if not impossible.

  12. I think at this point since I love milk in my lattes, I’m going to go with raw whole fat milk, raw cheese and raw butter in moderation and see how that goes for me. I too wish we could get more info on raw vs pasteurized though.

    1. I wouldn’t bother going to too much trouble to get raw milk for your lattes. When you steam the milk to 160 degrees to get the foam, you are essentually pasteurizing it.

  13. I’ve just looked up ‘heavy cream’ on FitDay, but the problem with that is it measures it in ounces/grams, whilst we measure cream in the UK in ml (as it’s liquid – apart from clotted cream as it’s, well, not!)

    1 tablespoon (20ml) of double cream has the following macronutrient profile: –

    0.34g protein
    0.52g carbs
    9.5g fat (of which 5.95g saturates)

    Heavy cream seems to be considerably lighter; not as heavy as our whipping cream (which is NOT the same as yours), but heavier than what we’d call creme fraiche. According to FD, 20g of heavy cream contains 0.56g carbs, 7.4g fat (4.6g sat fat).

    I don’t have cows’ dairy at all (apart from cream) – I have goats’ dairy because the casein doesn’t upset my stomach like cows. I don’t have goats’ cream, because it’s very hard to come by.

    Goats’ butter seems to vary in fat content, from 80% up to around 90%, depending on bran (the brand I buy, which is fully pastured, is 88% fat).

    I also eat quite a bit of goats’ yoghurt (though I try to limit myself to a 4oz (100g) serving per day (I do mix it with double cream, though – am I intensifying the insulin response this way…?) The yoghurt’s from the same farm as the butter, so I know it’s also fully pastured. It’s 5.5% protein, 4.3% carbs, 7.3% fat (compare that to Fage, which I used to consume a lot, which is 10% fat, 6.8% protein, 3.2% carbs) – would I be better off going back to Fage…?

    I’ve not been feeling at all well since Xmas (it’s come on VERY suddenly, so I doubt it’s anything to do with anything I’ve eaten/eating, the rest of my diet’s pretty sound) but I have gained a mysterious 20lb from somewhere (that ain’t shifting) but I know damned well that you can’t gain 20lb of fat in a fortnight. I have a very swollen, sore, tender, belly, enlarged tender, breasts, pain & tingling in both arms (but particularly my left) I ache all over, don’t sleep at night, am exhausted all day (regardless of what my sleep at night’s like) and have had 2 very heavy, very long, periods in the space of less than 3 weeks – and I can’t get a doc to take me seriously!

    I’m mentioning this here in the hope that SOMEONE might be able to tell me what’s going on (I have PCOS, by the way). I’m REALLY watching what I eat, because there is NO WAY I can go out to exercise – hell I’ve no clothes that fit at the moment, either (I’ve had to borrow from my kid sis – I’m a 0-2 usually, and she’s a 10-12 (I’ve Americanised the sizes).I’ve gone from a UK 28C/30B bra to a UK 36DD (still had a couple in the back of the wardrobe!) Now, apart from the periods, everything I’ve read says it’s either cancerous – or I’m pregnant (and I know damned well it can’t be the latter!)

    I’m getting desperate! I was supposed to be returning up north last Friday, but I’ve not been well enough to go! I’ve gone from being a fit, healthy and active 36-year-old to being practically bedridden!

    I’m desperate! Being autistic doesn’t seem to help, either!

    1. Keep asking for second, third, fourth, fifth … opinions at the GP surgery you are nearby, if no satisfactory answer, go to the next one – if you are away from home you can register as a temporary patient. Pregnancy is my most obvious spot from that list of symptoms but you rule that out. In someways it sounds like an acute allergic reaction but don’t delay it needs sorting one way or another.

      1. I’m not allowed NEAR any surgeries at the moment. There are only 2 round here anyway.

        Wherever I go, I’m treated like crap. I can;’t help being autistic – it was how I was made.

        Right now I’m too exhausted to fight anymore.

        I’m sick of being sick
        I’m tired of being tired
        I’m f*cked with being f*cked.

        My Little Empire – Manic Street Preachers

        There’s no room in this world for a girl like me
        No place around where I will fit in

        Born A Girl – Manic Street Preachers

        You’re tender and you’re tired
        You can’t be bothered to decide
        Whether you live or die
        Or just forget about your life

        You’re Tender and You’re tired – Manic Street Preachers

        It’s all very well saying that but I can’t get anywhere with the PCT, PALS, ICAS – I’m terrified of using the phone and I’m on my own. But the periods? The first was 10 days and this, I think, has been nearly a fortnight.

        Thank you for listening, though. It means a lot…

        Think I’ll go to bed now. With any luck I might not wake up tomorrow…

        1. Whatever you do, don’t give up. DON’T give up. Keep looking. Help is out there.

        2. I hope you are feeling a little better today – you are clearly in the UK, is it possible to email your local surgery with a brief description of your problems and a plea for sympathetic help.

          Or, have you considered just turning up at Accident and Emergency with your brief list and just sitting there until someone helps? I know you say getting out is difficult but if you could summon up the courage/strength … alternatively Samaritans might be in a position to get you help to your home.

        3. Sarah,
          My daughter is 27 and has PCOS. She takes metformin, birth control pills and follows a strict diet and exercise program. I totally understand how you feel about the quick weight gain. Are you taking metformin? That made a huge difference for my daughter.

    2. You say you are autistic – if possible can you take someone with you (your sister?) to explain on your behalf or perhaps better still write all the symptoms down and hand to the GP to read. It might just make the consultation easier for them and for you?

      1. As far as I am concerned I don’t HAVE a sister. The clothes I have of hers she left here.

        It’s a long story, but it’ll be a cold day in hades before I speak to her again…

      2. I’ve done the writing down thing – it’s either ignored, or I get a response along the lines of “I don’t have time to read this!”

        1. Just a thought… what if you said you lost your voice? People may have more sympathy for that than autism, sadly.

        2. Sarah,
          I really feel for you. I understand that doctors don’t take the feelings of people with Autism seriously. I have a friend whose son is nonverbal and suffers from many problems (major gut disorder) and regular doctors want nothing to do with him. Anyway, the only kind of doctor that has taken his chronic intense pain seriously is a DAN doctor. I don’t know if there is one in your area, but that’s a doctor that would try to determine what is going on (unless he/she is not a good doctor, as can happen). I hope you find some relief very soon. Please don’t give up. You can find a solution. I know a lot about pain….I have chronic daily migraines. That’s why I’m trying this diet. Hang in there. Please.

    3. i’m 45 and got very heavy periods from taking fish oil. many people having surgery are told to stop taking fish oil 10 days before. but i don’t have your other symptoms. perimenopause can start in your 30s, but i haven’t heard of such extreme symptoms.

    4. I have PCOS too and understand how easily and quickly you can gain weight when it is uncontrolled, without any change to diet or exercise routine.

      I found that d-chiro inositol helped me immensely. It was the missing link that allowed my healthy diet and lifestyle to actually do what it was supposed to.

      Your symptoms (if pregnancy is completely impossible, as it is the first thing that comes to mind to explain your symptoms) sound like they may be related to either:

      Your body producing progesterone when it doesn’t ordinarily (this causes fluid retention and when progesterone levels drop after having been high (as in the second half of your menstrual cycle, after ovulation) it triggers the lining of the womb to shed.

      Or a worsening of the insulin resistance (and consequently all of the hormonal imbalances that ensue) associated with your PCOS, possibly from eating some small thing at Xmas which your body reacted badly to, or possibly the same thing caused by stress kicking your hormones out of order.

      You have a lot more challenges to deal with than most people and it’s obviously not easy. Good luck finding the doctor you need and deserve. If you ever want to chat about PCOS, please contact me via my website (www.mypcos.info). Maybe there’s information there that can help you.

    5. You can now get double goat cream from Waitrose. I mix a whole pot in with my organic sheep milk yoghurt!

    6. Hi there, I got rid out of PSOC in 3 month, putting myself on keto( no milk on that time). Watch Doc.Berg and Doc. Mindy Pelz videos about keto, intermittent and finally water fasting. It looks like you ha a insulin resistance, blood sugar imbalance, adrenal fatigue. Magdalena Wszelaki has some info about.

  14. I’m sticking with full fat milk in my tea, a little raw milk cheese, double cream in my coffee and some butter. I don’t appear to have a problem, I exercise more than the average person and I also use IF, in fact I’ve been trialling doing all my workouts fasted and then eating around lunctime (quite like the leangains principle) seems to be working thus far and has controlled my appetite/boredom eating much better.

    Thanks Mark for covering this one again. I suspect there is still more to be uncovered as the science develops because the insulin pathway is still not well understood in terms of its interaction with other hormonal pathways especially when heavily overloaded.

  15. It’s important to also keep in mind the way milk products were consumed when dairy was added to the human diet. Yes, it was raw, but it was also in different formats depending upon the season–fermented/fresh curd products in the spring, summer and fall and aged cheeses and butters during the winter. Domesticated animal lactation was (and should be) seasonal meaning dairy wasn’t consumed in the same quantities year-round. Where I believe that the Primal/Paleo methods of eating fall short is on mimicking the seasonality of nutrient supplies in fresh foods.

  16. Wow, I had no idea dairy gives even more of an insulin hit than white bread – I guess the horrible reaction I have to white bread (and, to some extent, bread in general) must be as much gluten intolerance as insulin resistance, though that still doesn’t explain why many of us react so badly to potatoes and rice and not dairy. Curious…

    1. I am gluten intolerant…was tested for other food intolerances, and potatoes, tomatoes, onions, were high on the list.
      I have spoken with other gluten-intolerant folks, and they have the same intolerances. Many GI people ARE intolerant to dairy as well, as the gut has been damaged.

  17. I quit all dairy beginning of Nov. Within a month, my skin was the clearest it has been since I was probably 12 (I’m 47 now!)

    Over the past 2 weeks, I reintroduced pastured butter since some people say it doesn’t cause acne the way other forms of dairy do. Alas, for me it seems it does…my skin is deteriorating rapidly 🙁

    I don’t mind not drinking milk, I’m OK with goat cheese…but no butter? That’s sad!

    1. If you’re okay with goat cheese, have you tried goat butter? That stuff is seriously DELICIOUS.

      1. I actually have some in the fridge now. But I need to quit all butter for a while to let my skin clear back up again, and then try goat, just so I know for sure if any continued problems are due to lingering effects of cow butter or goat butter.

  18. Hi Mark,

    I’m taking a wild stab in the dark here.

    Mammalian babies drink a lot of milk right. Do babies have high insulin levels? If so do you think this leaves a lasting impression on our bodies that milk = rapid growth and therefore insulin spikes to capture the nutrients to feed that growth?

    Does that make sense?

    1. That’s a fascinating question. Insulin is a growth hormone so wouldn’t it make sense for the levels to be higher in babies and kids? Not only does it put sugar and fatty acids away, it also puts amino acids into muscles. HM.

      And then again, I’ve heard that babies spend some time in ketosis. I’d love to see that one verified too.

      1. Maybe that has something to do with gestational diabetes as well? I’ve heard that women who get it are prone to much larger babies, sometimes even dangerously so (in terms of difficult childbirth). So it would certainly appear that insulin levels are related to a baby’s growth, and that babies may well have higher levels in general.

  19. Man, I wish I’d read this BEFORE ordering that 2lbs. of casein powder. ><

    I think I'm going to go back to doing a finger-stick before and after eating, so I can determine once and for all if dairy hinders my weight loss progress.

    In light of this information: Does that mean that the benefits of hemp protein should be revisited?

    1. Glucose monitoring to evaluate effects of dairy will likely underestimate as a proxy for insulin. As noted in the post, insulin is particularly sensitive to the dairy proteins in addition to the lactose. Proteins won’t show up in the glucose measure. Therefore, the finger-stick may read an acceptable value for the lactose portion, but the actual insulin will be higher due to the protein sensitivity. How much higher? Depends on the individual’s insulin sensitivity among several other factors.

      In other words, you would need to calibrate the glucose measurement to a real insulin test value specifically designed for the dairy you plan to evaluate.

      1. That’s interesting, I hadn’t considered that angle when I last posted.
        So, you’re right that a glucose test wouldn’t be able to measure the insulin response to the milk proteins, but wouldn’t the test strips still measure the overall response to the consumed dairy? For example, if I tested myself prior to eating a hunk of (full-fat) cheese, and then tested 1 and 2 hours after; would a lower blood glucose reading not be indicative of an elevated insulin response?
        Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong — I have a number of physicians who seem hell-bent on my having PCOS/insulin resistance, and I’m having a hard time getting a handle on just exactly how my food choices affect my BG.

        1. A glucose measurement from eating dairy will only reveal your response to the lactose (carb) portion of the dairy, not the dairy overall.

          Pre- and post-prandial testing for a hunk of cheese would show a low BG level even though your insulin response would be elevated due to the dairy proteins.

          If insulin resistance is your concern, you (like myself) would do best to avoid all dairy except perhaps ghee (clarified butter fat which has had all carbs and proteins filtered away). And of course, eat at the low-carb to ketogenic end of the primal spectrum.

    2. I forgot to add.

      I stopped consuming dairy about 2 or 3 months ago, cold turkey. Surprisingly, I have had no cravings for it.

      Well technically I do still use dairy in the pure butter fat form of ghee. However, all of the lactose and proteins have been removed from this type of dairy.

  20. I think the point with dairy should be moderation. If your goal is to lose weight, then you can have some dairy, but not a lot. I see people saying, “Your problem is all that dairy. Get rid of it!” I say you can eat anything you want as long as you do so in moderation.

    1. Which means you eat Doritos in moderation, right?

      There’s this persistent mythology that people get fat from eating too much. Some foods just plain aren’t good for a person, and that question varies depending on someone’s individual metabolic situation–but it doesn’t vary *that* much, since we’re all the same species.

      It’s looking, according to the research, more like the process of becoming obese drives the overeating, not the other way around. And there are usually specific things people want to overeat when they are getting fat. Generally those things are not steak, butter, and salads. Generally it’s things like the aforementioned Doritos, and sodas, and French fries… do you see a common denominator here?

      I don’t gain on dairy fat, but I might gain on lactose. I’m not willing to drink enough milk to find out. Kefir I get along with OK though, and yogurt too.

      1. Dana, until they’ve read Taubes (which I have – cover to cover) people seem incapable of really understanding that point, thanks of course mainly to CW. Sad but true. And there aren’t many people who are willing to wade through it unfortunately, and of course many just don’t like the reality of what he shows 🙁

  21. there’s another issue with the studies that use skim (processed) milk and low fat – there is the issues of pasteurization which fundamentally changes all kinds of structures in the milk. I’m not suggesting that dairy is perfect when raw – but i’d be willing to bet it’s much better–

  22. Wow, I wonder if my cottage cheese intake is hindering my fat loss. I really enjoy cottage cheese in moderation as a topping for certain foods and a base for things like egg salad. I might try to go without it for a week or two and see how I do.

    1. Nearly all commercial cottage cheese has carrageenan in it, which acts like MSG. Be careful.

    2. Cottage cheese is not aged, so there’s still plenty of lactose in it. That alone could stall you.

      People following the Atkins plan are told to avoid fresh cheeses while in Induction, and to stick only with aged ones, and not very much at that. Butter they can eat liberally. Cream, there’s a little bit of carb content there.

      1. Thanks for the information. I was just faced with buying cheddar that was aged 60 days versus some that was aged 24 months. Now I know which to buy next time.

    3. I’m wondering the same thing! I am on the slow-carb diet at the moment and while I have lost some weight, I expected a little more. I was using cottage cheese as a good low-priced source for a lot of protein, but I think I better just stick to tuna and meats!

  23. I think that since milk is the only food that babies have for the first few months/weeks of life, one of the main purposes is to put weight on the baby to help it grow.
    Animals stop drinking milk when they are weaned off of the mother and don’t drink it again. Humans are the exception. It’s possible humans aren’t supposed to continue drinking it for the rest of their lives.

    1. Except people like the Maasai seem to do fine on it. But again, they drink raw milk and it’s possible the stuff’s started fermenting by the time they get around to it, or that they have good gut bacteria from prior exposure to lactic acid bacteria which seem to be native to milk that hasn’t been heated.

      There’s a claim floating around out there that they’ve got a mutation that makes them continue producing lactase into adulthood. Haven’t seen any solid proof though.

  24. and something else weight-wise on this topic – my partner – not an overweight woman for her height at the start of our lacto-paleo, was around 138 lbs. with no effort whatsoever, she has lost about 18 lbs during our 1st 3 months of lacto-paleo eating while our consumption of “good” dairy (cheese both hard and fresh-made with raw goats milk) has notably increased.

    What we DID drop totally was…..

    all grains and bread.

    ’nuff said-

  25. I can’t help but feel we have to, as Mark says, experiment with everything to see how we adapt. Research is helpful but combined with personal experience, it can be hugely revealing.

  26. I’m about to go onto a mass-gaining cycle of lifting, and I’ve recently been trying to re-incorporate milk into my diet, especially as a post-workout beverage (damn sight cheaper than protein shakes, and I get a load of protein from my usual meals as is). I’ll letcha know how it goes in a month or two, if you want.

  27. I have found in myself a definite correlation between drinking cow’s milk and a grumbly tummy. I know it causes inflamation and is mucous inducing for I have watched out for it and experienced it. I’ve pretty much eliminated milk from diet completely. I absolutely love almond and coconut milk as a substitute for when I need it. I haven’t experienced any significant noticable changes when I eat cheeses, whether that’s derived from cow’s milk or goat sheep’s milk. I personally love goat feta cheese and enjoy it in my salads, among other dishes. My naturopathic doctor also recommended eliminating cow’s milk and subsequent products made for it.

    1. Grumbly tummy probably means lactose intolerance. You can eat cheese with no problem, so it’s likely not a casein allergy, which I think trips up a lot of people who have problems with milk. (If someone out there’s got tummy upset from aged cheese or heavy cream, that’s not lactose intolerance–you’re not getting enough lactose to bother you. Especially if you *aren’t* having tummy issues with whey protein.)

    2. If grumbly tummy means producing awe inspiring amounts of gas then you are probably lactose intolerant.

      It’s hard to miss, it’s like a “HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!” reaction.

  28. i think theres more to not just the dairy debate but the amino acid complex in food and its relation to weight and insulin clearance or resistance. i reall dont have answers, but i can literally down 10-12oz of cheese a day AS LONG as it is raw, and it has no bearing on my body composition. if i did that with store bought dairy it would be a totally different story. i am very interested in the amino acid connection to weight management.

  29. No milk is good milk. Too much hormones and such in that stuff these days, I think they’re is a reason that you stop drinking breast milk after a certain age, your body no longer needs it and you start eating a more appropriate diet.

    Bummer though, milk still tasted good to me when I quit.

  30. now i’m really confused. I’m trying to put on muscle mass. (I’m 41, by the way, not a teen trying to GOMAD). Naturally ‘skinny’. The only way I can come near Mark’s recommendation of 1gm of protein per pound of body weight is to supplement daily (2 or 3 times) with whey protein.

    Is this doing my health damage due to the insulin response? Does this take the accute response into a chronic response due to the regularity of it?

    The whey is plain, unflavoured (I add cocao powder for taste).

    1. I wouldn’t be too concerned with it, JP. I supplement with whey most days and put getting adequate protein ahead of any concern about whey/insulin. Especially, as I said, if you’re relatively active.

      1. Mark, here’s another big factor in the dairy debate – the breed of the cows you get your dairy from, A1 or A2 Cows.

        Google “The Devil in the Milk.”

  31. I have been primal for 4 months or so and have noticed a slowdown with the weight loss (still have plenty to go to be in the optimal lean and healthy zone). I have been using heavy cream, butter occasionally, and cheese from time to time. Maybe I need to completely eliminate these as you mention, at least until I am at the point I want to be…sure will be hard but maybe that’s the trick.

  32. A little off topic, but…What’s the primal take on almond milk? I can’t bring myself to use coconut milk in my coffee, but almond milk doesn’t have many carbs (mostly fat). Is this an acceptable alternative to something like half&half (after this post, I’d assume the insulin response would be lower, at least!).

  33. If you’re gonna cut out all grains on the grounds that it’s a recent addition to our diet, I say cut out dairy, too. It’s an even more recent addition to our diet. Plus, milk is intended for infants 😛

    1. Milk’s an animal food and the proteins are more compatible with our bodies than wheat protein is.

  34. To paraphrase Dr. Rosedale, we’re getting fat because we can’t burn it. Perhaps a simple explanation for dairy stalling out weight loss is the saturated fat content. If your body is burning fat effectively, it’s may not be a big deal. But, if one is trying to lose one’s own saturated fat stores, then consuming more of it, particularly from a product that raises insulin levels, may not be helping. Just a wild and unqualified guess.

    1. If you have read anything at all about Primal eating, you’d know we don’t shy away from saturated fat in any other form (in fact we generally embrace it as the best thing since… well, ever). I don’t see why it would be the saturated fat that’s the problem, but rather some other reaction to the enzymes/proteins specific to milk.

    2. If I’m in ketosis it doesn’t matter how much fat I eat, the point is that my insulin is so low that my body can process any fat that is in my system, whether it’s my fat or something else’s.

      If my insulin’s not up then there’s no mechanism to make me store the fat. No matter where it’s from, either I use it for energy or it gets breathed, sweated, or peed out. Buh-bye.

  35. I have read that different breeds of dairy cows have different protein make-up, beta casein A1 attributed to a myriad of health issues, (serum cholesterol levels to weight), whereas beta casein A2 is a better choice. The dominate dairy Holstein being A1 and the Guernsey, Jersey, and Watusi, along with sheep and goat are A2. May be well worth looking into for those with issues.



    I have found a pastured, non homogenized, lightly vat pasteurized Guernsey heavy cream so far, but am having trouble finding raw in my area. The taste is incredible!

  36. Interesting stuff. I am t2 diabetic, and have cut the grains and sugar (at least 80% of the time, probably more like 95%), with good results. I do still eat dairy in the form of cream in my coffee, cultured cottage cheese on my eggs, and other forms of cheese. But I have to say – my numbers haven’t been as good as they were, and I’ve been thinking about cutting dairy to see what happens. I’ve been so reluctant, because I’ve already cut so much, and cheese is such a handy snack.
    Love The Primal Blueprint and the cookbook. I find all this stuff so helpful in managing my disease.

    1. Sara Z, my body is also T2 Diabetic.

      The removal of ALL fresh dairy, including any cottage cheese and cream, helped me greatly.

      My body does tolerates aged cheeses and ghee/butter/etc. But anything dairy with carbs causes difficulty.

      I think you might find it sufficient to remove the cottage cheese and cream while keeping the aged cheeses in your diet.

  37. Mark, I love your point on thinking about foods within the context of a larger evolutionary narrative. You’re right, it’s a very rewarding and useful way to think…brings me back to my undergrad semiotics seminars 🙂

  38. Interesting stuff.

    I got into fitness being quite underweight. I was 5’10 and weighed about 128lb. Tried eating a lot more, but I was still pretty light.

    Started drinking whole milk, about a half gallon a day, and I really built up some muscle. Weighing in at a pretty lean 152 lb right now. But if I stop drinking milk, even if I eat as much as possible, I’ll start losing weight. Did it for a few weeks once and dropped about six pounds.

    Anyways, if you’re underweight, and don’t have any reactions to dairy, I would recommend it.

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

    1. 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.

  41. 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!

  42. 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.

  43. 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).

  44. 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.

    1. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

    1. 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.


  49. 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?

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. So assuming no metabolic derangement or lactose intolerance for an active individual with low body fat which is best: whey, hydro whey, or milk?

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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! 😀
    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!
    😀 Awesome timing, thanks Mark.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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).

      1. Does the Blue Diamond and So Delicious contain carrageenan? It’s supposed to be a nasty substance in our bodies (it’s always something!) 😉

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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! 🙂

    1. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

    Jack Kronk

  66. 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.

  67. 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.


  68. 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!!!

    1. 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.

    2. My excema started going away when I gave up grains, and I think nuts aggravated them too. Not sure but maybe worth a shot.

  69. 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 🙂

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

    1. 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.

  74. “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.”

    This is pretty astounding to me, as I’ve been drinking a ton of whey protein shakes as a meal replacement due to my busy schedule with coconut oil and/or heavy whipping cream. I had no idea whey protein elicits an insulin response. So trying to lose weight and drinking two or three of these shakes per day could really prevent me from doing so? What do other people drink for protein powders that won’t elicit such a response? I’ve been trying to keep the carb count low (less than 4 grams) and sweetener like Stevia. Jay Robb’s seems to work for me on the Egg Protein powder, but I’ve had a ton of Mercola’s whey and Jay Robb’s whey protein. Any help would be great.

  75. Hello Mark

    Thanks for the interesting article! Didn’t know much about the topic. I love dairy. And what can I put in my milk?

    One onjection, however. You said:

    ” Grains aren’t just little morsels of protein, carbs, and fiber bred for our enjoyment. They are baby plant eggs. ”

    Doesn’t that hold true for chicken eggs as well? I don’t see much difference here.


  76. Just watched Pedro Bastos’s AHS presentation and then found this and am really glad I did. This morning I fell asleep for hours after consuming a glass of raw kefir. (I also had grass-fed cheddar cheese and heavy cream.) First I got dizzy, then I was OUT. Wondering if there could be a leaky gut component. This nutritional rabbit hole is DEEP.

  77. it’s = it is, it has
    its = possessive pronoun

    Correction to article: And even if you did, an understanding of how insulin works and what foods and behaviors affect its production should be high priority.

  78. I have been drinking a half gallon of whole milk every day at work instead of solid meals.

    I eat one large meaty meal in the evening, and will occasionally supplement my intake with frozen mixed berries and unsalted almonds or brazil nuts.

    I have been losing weight an average rate of 1 pound per week.

    I love milk, and I love Paleo. I changed my life.

  79. I need to lose one stone in weight and have been following the primal diet for 6 weeks now, i don’t really know where i am going wrong as i can’t seem to lose any weight think it might be the dairy so am going to try to eliminate dairy for a few weeks to see if this makes a difference, just wondering is it ok to use unsweetened soya milk instead, is this a better choice?

  80. I have found that all dairy, with the exception of butter, leaves me wanting more and more and more. When I recently started living primal I dropped all dairy except heavy cream (intended only for my coffee) and butter. I found myself craving the heavy cream in the evenings and when temptation would get the best of me I would end up making cup after cup of mousse. Now that the entire half gallon is gone in less that a weeks time I am retiring from cream. So, obviously, for me even the high fat dairy products are not an option. Butter aside 😉

  81. Confirmed! I had two giant dogs and they would drink the milk of ANYTHING I gave them. They loved it. Cats are also quite famous for their love of milk.

    Their tongue’s as a matter of fact are designed to scoop up liquid much better than water. It is almost as if nature intended it somehow…

  82. I’m originally from Uganda, and we have a lot of milk drinking cultures in my country of origin. By “milk drinking” I’m referring to a maasai-like tradition of depending on milk for greater than 70% of your daily caloric intake.

    We have pastoral cultures that have no particular ethnic categorization, then we have the Hima, the Tutsi, the Karimojong (who have similar lifestyles and diet preferences to the Turkana people of Kenya), Itesots, and many others.

    Almost without exception all these people are incredibly lean and one would wonder why that is the case if dairy lends itself to creating spikes in insulin secretion. (The women tend to be on the heavier side, particularly the Hima women, but that’s an aside.)

  83. I’ve been drinking raw dairy for the past week (every day, it tastes so good!).
    I’ve done my measurements today and I’ve gained visceral fat, before it was 4, now 5 points.
    I think raw milk is good as a post workout drink or when you have no food available, just don’t mix it with food or you start growing (well, getting bigger like a calf).
    After all, milk is meant for babies to grow fast. I think it’s ok to have it occasionally though.

  84. I keep Lamancha dairy goats and love having kefir kale (and maybe cranberry and ginger) smoothies. I found that making raw dairy goat products, like chevre, cheese, yogurt and kefir to be consumed daily really helps me get the most enjoyment out of my salads and fruit, and as its a great source of protein too, it really helps keep down my need to procure too much extra meat for every meal.

  85. I just finished Dr Lustig’s Book FAT CHANCE, and he allows unlimited whole milk because the sugar in it does not turn into Fructose, which he says is the really toxic sugar. Lactose is fundamentally different and not harmful, so he claims.

    Is he wrong?

  86. I just bought shares in a cow since it’s not legal in my state to purchase raw milk, but owners of a cow can share the milk. Yes, it’s ridiculous, but I now have own the rights to 8 gallons of raw milk per month for my family of 4, along with options to buy raw cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream as the caretakers of the farm have extra milk to provide these additional items.

    I always keep cream in the house, and it wasn’t until I read this article that i made a connection. Occasionally I get hungry late at night, but I am tired and nothing really appeals to me. On some of these occasions, I have poured about a 1/4 cup of cream and felt completely satisfied. I felt horribly guilty … or maybe afraid is a better word … for doing this, since I think most of us have been taught that eating cream or butter was asking for an instant heart attack.

    I’ve never experienced any issues that I recognize with dairy products, but I think going raw will be a telling experience. My daughter has issues with dairy, so I’ll be certain to post some observations on it’s affect on us if anyone is interested.

  87. I love cheese. I recently discovered that cheese especially 8 oz of aged Parmesan causes me intestinal distress. Vegan video’s talk about casomorphins in bovine milk being 10 times greater than mother’s milk. The day after the cheese overdose, I woke up totally “woozy” and wobbly for hours. I was punch drunk and constipated as if I had a large dose of morphine. Strange phenomenon. I include a Vegan link that discusses the issue. I don’t agree with their positions, but I feel much better without hard cheeses. https://www.yumuniverse.com/2011/04/25/dr-jenna-taylor-addiction-to-cheese-is-real-thanks-to-casomorphins/

  88. I could never give up dairy! In light of this article, I feel like I should give it a shot and eliminate dairy from my diet just as an experiment, but I don’t think I could do it. Although I don’t drink milk (due to its higher carb content), I love my full fat cheese and greek yogurt and cottage cheese too much.
    I just wanted to mention that a lot of people feel better after eliminating it, which is great! But some also might have better weight loss because it might not just be the dairy, but the fact that butter, cream and full fat cheese are high in calories. Has anyone actually considered that as well?

  89. Where is the evidence that dairy cream and butter do not raise insulin? In this study, a saturated fat meal of butter together with carbohydrate caused a very hyperinsulinemic response:


    and pay attention to the behavior of insulin for the saturated fat meal:


    I tried Paleo for two years with heavy dairy cream and my fasting blood sugar exploded. I am only now controlling it a combination of low carb with 120 grams of starchy carbs (three cups of rice) per day. I’m using MCT Oil with the rice, and I have removed all of the dairy cream. I’ve brought my fasting glucose down from 115 to 85.

    I’m not sure which saturated fats are causing insulin resistance, but I’m quite sure that in my body at least some of them do. I don’t need any protein to duplicate the above result.

  90. Cream and butter SHOULD NOT be considered, since they totally lack the insulinogenic aminos in question. End of story.

  91. Ok. So now I am really confused. A year ago, I went on GAPS with no weight loss. Then I moved to paleo with no weight loss. In between and current, i am a BIG raw milk kefir maker/ drinker. About 10-12 oz in the morning with 3 free-range, farm-raised, bug – eating eggs ( sometimes yolks only, sometimes yolk and whites) . My milk comes from a2 certified cows, raw milk right from the cow. Am I now understanding that my 15 pound weight gain is from this? I am 61, female, still have menapause symptoms, and have this new THING around my gut that I didn’t have before I changed my diet– the doctor calls it insulin resistance. Has my super duper bacteria – rich kefir done this to me???????? I would really appreciate some help. Thanks.

  92. This seems to be the new controversial debate… what do you think about goats milk and goat yogurt for weight loss?

    As for me, I always ferment my milk into homemade kefir.. thoughts? I definitely find I get a much leaner look when I’m off most dairy.

    Thanks for flushing this out, I agree with the end recommendations you finish off with

  93. There is more than one kind of dairy. There are two distinct types of protein. Guernsey and Jersey is the same as goat and sheep, where as Holstein which is the primary type sold, is more difficult for humans to digest. I can tolerate goat cheeses etc but not any kind of product from Holstein without reaction and obvious weight gain.

  94. I tried adding cheese to my paleo-styler diet and my weight zoomed up. I was always hungry. I just ran across this data on insulin and diary. So, now I know why I can’t handle cheese, and why it stimulates my appetite and I want more and more of it. So, for now, I’m cutting out the cheese. At age 61, I do worry about bone loss, but I guess I’ll stick to kale and broccoli for calcium.

  95. Does dairy protein per se evoke an insulin response, or does it only do this after its been converted to glucose? I ask this because I am T1 diabetic (and therefore produce no insulin response to anything) and when I eat cheese (which I love) it does increase my blood GLUCOSE levels. So I need to inject insulin to bring this level down. So to me it still looks like I need insulin to deal with glucose, not amino acids.

  96. I am a T1 diabetic (and therefore produce no insulin response to any food). I find that after eating cheese my blood glucose level starts to increase, and so I need to inject insulin to deal with it. In other words, after eating cheese I need insulin to deal with raised glucose, not to deal with amino acids. So are you sure that insulin is required to shuttle protein into muscles?

  97. thank you for this interesting discussion. I have just learned that vitamin C and glucose both need insulin to get into cells, and compete with each other. As a result, ideally vitamin C should be taken with something that raises insulin but does NOT greatly increase blood sugar. Fake sugars do not fit the bill. Dairy, especially perhaps whey protein isolate, might be the perfect thing to take with sodium ascorbate Vit C!!

  98. I had been making my fat coffee with kerrygold and XCT. My fasting blood glucose 60-72. Even mid afternoon blood glucose would be low 60s.

    Wanting a change for a few days and bought heavy whipping cream. Fasting blood glucose went to high 70s and low 80s. Still good numbers but it was an interesting test. Even the HWC seemed to impact it. Nothing else changed and if anything my sleep and stress were much better. Certainly made me go….hmmmmm.

  99. I come from one year of vegan diet, switched to paleo with cheese (from raw milk), in 3 months my weight has increased about 10 pound (5-6 kg at least), so says the scale. Considering I stick to a low-carb regimen almost in the keto zone (from 50 to 120gr./day), I also lost some water so the weight gain should be even more…but: my waist has increased of only 1,5 cm (half inch), my muscles have grown quite significantly, my strength a lot, maximal push-ups, pull-ups and dips in the range of +30-40% despite I’m heavier now. So I did gain some fat, a pound (the body fat % is quite the same according to the scale, maybe +1% which reflects well on the +1,5cm on the waist) but most I gained muscles. I don’t know how this diet was so effective in changing my body, maybe muscle memory (I trained hard during the vegan year but did not gain muscles nor strength)? But also not leaning me in the sense of losing weight..mybe I am designed to be bigger than I used to think..my girlfriend believed I took some roids bc my muscles really pumped up in one month. I only take Omega3 and Vit.D3 and 1 multivitamine pill. But hope to lose some weight further on, trying to give up diary for a while. Anybody had similar experience?

  100. I believed for years that drinking milk brought on weight gain for me. As I approached menopause and worried about my bones I began increasing milk in my diet. I gained weight and my blood sugars went up. I thought it was my imagination that milk caused it. Thank you so much for this article.

  101. Fantastic article thanks so much. I’ve got no hard data to support this, but I know how my body feels with an insulin spike… I’m tired, seem to continue to want to eat, and I feel heavy.
    With low fat Greek yogurt the above happens, but NOT with full fat Greek yoghurt. I feel great, not foggy, am satisfied and no bloating either interestingly. I’m a metabolic scientist and so driven to understand this more rigorously, but overall, I thoroughly believe that nature created specific food compositions for a reason.
    I’ve read recently that dairy fat is also high in butyrate, which may be involved in its benefits.

    1. That would be the OPPOSITE though ?? The WHOLE dairy product would give an INCREASED insulin spike vs the lowfat….??

  102. But will lactose free milk also stall weight loss?
    Surely there should not be an insulin spike that will make you gain weight.

    1. Lactose is responsible for only part of the insulin response. WHEY protein is responsible 4 MUCH more

  103. If you’re a diabetic in need of more control then we wouldn’t label milk – or whey – an “offender”. If someone is taking a 2nd generation sulfonylurea to create more insulin…. let’s study whey and figure out EXACTLY how much is needed for insulin response vs taking drugs ??????

  104. Leucine is actually a ketogenic amino acid. You can take 5 to 10g leucine on its own and it will lower BS and raise ketones better or as much as mct oil. Has your opinion changed at all since 2011?

  105. “The hand of evolution…” Blind unintelligent forces under the 2nd law of thermodynamics, cannot create or evolve into something functional. The cellular ribosome makes protein in yet…it is made of protein. Can’t be evolution.

  106. This was so helpful and may just change my life! I’m a Type 1 KetoBetic and had perfect and reliable blood sugars when I first started a ketogenic way of eating. I also at that time wasn’t consuming dairy. Now after I eat large amounts of cheese my blood sugars stay high for hours and hours with no way to bring them down even after taking copious amounts of Humalog.

    It’s the only change I’ve made since the beginning and that’s adding dairy. I suspected as much and now will go back to eliminating cheese once again to see if things change back into control… and I mean HOURS later my sugars stay elevated. Thanks for this mate, cheers.

  107. I was losing just over a pound a week on keto and fasting the weekends (60-hour fasts weekly.) I did this for several months losing some 30 pounds. I added homemade raw milk yogurt and kefif to my daily menu. My weight went up despite no significant caloric change. I dropped the milk-based dairy and the weight started to come off again. I still use cream, sour cream, creme fraiche, butter, occasional cheese and ghee but avoid whey and casein.

  108. Using cream in my coffee, gave me cravings….I eventually gave up the coffee because I can’t drink it black.
    The cravings were really strong, so it obviously messed with my insulin resistance in some way. Whenever I finished a cup of coffee, I HAD to eat something.
    When I switched to ghee and gave up the butter, I finally lost a couple pounds after 3 months of nothing.