Today, Stevie and I explore the topic of dairy, and the all important question, should you eat dairy on a ketogenic diet? Notes and links are listed below! If you’ve got any questions you’d like us to answer in a future podcast, leave a comment, or contact either of us via our social media channels.
How Ayurveda Views Dairy
- Cows produce enough milk for their offspring, and for sharing
- Dairy is nourishing and full of nutrients needed to grow a baby cow into an adult cow, or a baby human into an adult human
- Important to note that ayurvedic recommendations are based on milk that is from cows that are actively nursing, treated humanely and unpasteurized
- Pasteurized milk from industrialized farms is not recommended
- Additionally, those who are kapha dominant, or prone to mucus should avoid dairy
- Yogurt (raw) is recommended for vata types, and those with weak digestion
- Heavy cheeses are not recommended, but those who are not overweight and do not have any blockages can eat farmer’s cheese (like paneer) or cottage cheese
- Ghee – clarified butter, where the proteins have been mostly (if not entirely) skimmed off. Ghee is recommended, as it really doesn’t cause digestive issues for most people and is rich in fat-soluble vitamins and healthy fats.
- See article for dairy recommendations
Should we eat dairy?
- Morality and animal rights issues aside, whether or not you choose to eat dairy depends on what your nutritional goals are.
- Dairy is anabolic – designed to build bone, muscle and fat.
- Dairy consumption causes insulin secretion that is much higher than it should be for the amount of lactose contained
- Likely due in part to the protein content as well, as neither butter nor cream appear to have this effect
- Several studies have shown that milk (in whole, skim and part-skim forms) is as insulinogenic as white bread, if not more so
- Most studies involving dairy are done with skim/fat-free dairy products, so it’s hard to really judge the results, as they are using a wholly modified food product
- So, this insulin spike is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your goals
- Not only does insulin shuttle glucose into the muscles to be stored as glycogen, but it stimulates protein synthesis by instructing the ribosomes in muscle cells to create more muscles
- Insulin also inhibits the breakdown of muscle
- Insulin also shuttles BCAA (branched chain amino acids) into muscle cells, which help with the synthesis of new muscle
- Insulin also increases the production of the enzyme which turns glucose into stored glycogen, which is great for those of you who lift, or workout a lot
- Insulin inhibits the fat-burning enzyme lipase, so your body can’t break down stores of body fat into a useable form
- Insulin will spare fat and force the body to burn carbs preferentially
- Insulin increases fatty acid synthesis in the liver, so if you are consuming an excess, it will be stored as body fat
- Not everyone has the ability to break down lactose, the sugar found in dairy products
- This is genetic, and is influenced by ancestral diets of groups of people
- It’s important to note that not all dairy contains lactose – fermented dairy usually does not, as the lactose has been consumed in the fermentation process
- Casein, a protein in milk, has a similar structure to gluten and can cross-react, aggravating those with celiac or gluten intolerance
- Dairy is inflammatory, likely due in part to the casein, and can often aggravate autoimmune conditions
- Inflammation is likely the culprit in terms of of post nasal drip and mucus production