Dairy gets a lot of bad rap, but the truth is, there are some helpful tips for eating dairy while on a diet, that can help you navigate the dairy aisle, to learn what is healthy for you and your diet, and what isn’t. Unless you have a dairy intolerance or allergy, there’s no reason to avoid certain forms of dairy in your diet. Some forms of dairy can help people lose weight better, and it isn’t just for calcium purposes like the dairy industry markets. Don’t listen to the hype behind the dairy industry and bone health, etc. Instead, just concentrate on some tips for eating dairy and see what works for you. The best way to find what forms are healthy for a diet are to follow these tips for eating dairy below, and learn what works with your body.
1. Avoid Sugar Products
Let's start with the most important of tips for eating dairy while watching your waistline. Choose no sugar added products ladies! Many healthy dairy companies, even organic ones, make products like yogurt, that are sweetened with added sugar. Sugar is the number one weight-promoting food you can put in your body, even if it comes in the form of masked "healthy" sweeteners like coconut sugar, palm sugar, evaporated cane syrup, cane sugar, or even high amounts of fruit sugar (fructose). The best dairy products to choose are unsweetened, plain varieties, like plain yogurt, plain kefir, and plain milk. They only have natural sugars, which are actually lower than the counts on the label, due to the cultures in dairy that "eat" the sugars for food during processing. Since these sugars are naturally found in milk, the protein in these products also help lower the overall rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream.
2. Choose Organic
Organic dairy is one must have I choose to spend my money on. I don’t support any part of the dairy industry that isn’t willing to go through methods to become organic. I figure, if they make more money than almost any industry in the food industry, they have plenty of money to spend on making their products organic, which guarantees they are free of hormones, steroids, pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers, GMOs, and other harmful ingredients. Avoiding those nasty ingredients in conventional dairy ensures that your hormones work properly, you’re not adding toxicity to your diet, and you’re getting more vitamins and minerals like B12, potassium, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin D, and living enzymes.
3. Choose Yogurt, Not Cheese
Another tip for buying dairy on a diet, is to choose yogurt, not cheese. Why? Yogurt is much more diet friendly, so long as you buy the plain flavors. For one, yogurt contains much less saturated fat, if you buy plain lowfat or fat-free versions. Anytime you eat saturated fat, it should not come from animal foods. Also, cheese can be very hard to digest, along with promoting excess weight and digestive issues in general. Yogurt, however, contains probiotics, that have been linked to better immunity, better weight loss, less food cravings, and even a better mood. I know there are many varieties of healthy cheese, but overall, avoid cheese. If you can’t stand to go without it, choose a non-dairy cheese like feta cheese, which comes from sheep’s milk. Raw goat cheese is also another healthy option. Overall, yogurt is better than cheese, and the culturing process is very different between the two.
4. Kefir Power
Kefir is such a wonderful superfood, and amazing for your health. It can also enhance your dieting efforts and help you lose weight better. Kefir stabilizes your blood sugar due to high levels of protein, calcium, natural sugars that fight low blood sugar, and it contains more probiotics than yogurt. Most people think kefir is the same as yogurt, but it’s actually very different. Kefir is a health cultured beverage made from milk and kefir grains, which are simply a beneficial yeast culture that looks like a cluster of grains. Yogurt is milk that has been cultured with bacteria such as acidophilus, and bifidus, along with other cultures. Whenever you buy kefir, you should be sure to choose plain varieties, free of added sugars. Fat-free and lowfat kefirs are also best.
5. Milk Smarts
I’m not going to tell you that skim or fat-free milk will hurt your dieting efforts, because I think they can have their place. The key thing to remember, is to overall reduce your animal-product consumption whenever possible, and only pick dairy sources you have to have. If you hate the taste of almond milk, which is my favorite popular nondairy milk, then feel free to keep buying fat-free or skim milk if it works for you. I would like to stress, however, that you need to make sure you buy organic. The dairy industry is one of the worst industries for harmful treatment to animals and one of the most unsanitary ones as well - unless you choose organic. Make your money count, and your body will benefit by buying organic. Overall, I’d advise choosing unsweetened vanilla almond milk over milk in general. It’s only 30 calories per serving, it tastes great, and has 50% more calcium than dairy milk does anyway. Plus, it’s super creamy and makes a great smoothie or coffee creamer!
6. Use Them Sparingly
I also advise if you’re going to eat dairy on a diet, to do so sparingly. I say this for a few reasons. For one, it isn’t cheap, and making your money last on a diet is crucial, since we all know eating healthy isn’t cheap. Also, it’s better for your body. Though dairy can be very healthy, its also mucus forming and an excess of mucus in your body is never a good thing. It's also an inflammatory food naturally, because it comes from animals. You should overall eat more plant foods, and aim to eat vegetarian sources of protein whenever you can. Plus, eating too much of one food can make you more sensitive to it, including dairy. Consume dairy once or twice a day at the most, and use it sparingly.
7. Read Labels
The most important tip I could give anyone for buying dairy on a diet, is to read labels. Don’t just read the nutrition panel either. Read the ingredients list too. Make sure your dairy is organic, and contains live and active cultures if you’re buying yogurt and kefir. If you’re buying milk, make sure milk is the only ingredient, and most importantly, be sure you choose varieties with no added sugar. Most dairy products like yogurt and kefir that have fruit flavors, sugars, fillers, or sweeteners in them, have more sugar than a donut or candybar. Definitely not a good thing, especially when you’re on a diet!
Whether you’re on a diet or not, dairy doesn’t have to be evil unless you have an allergy to it. Just be sure you stay smart when choosing dairy and learn what forms are best for you and the planet, not to mention the animals who produce it for you. Do you eat dairy? How do you choose smart forms of dairy?