Although I messed up a few times, which forced me to restart the test, I have now completed a 30 Day No Dairy test. One of the methods to test to see if dairy is a problem is to completely eliminate it for 30 days. Then reintroduce it for a few days and monitor for symptoms. Symptoms might include skin inflammation, digestion problems or headaches. I was about 90% certain that dairy was not a problem for me, but I wanted to eliminate that 10% of doubt.
For me, I had four things I wanted to test regarding dairy removal.
- Would it result in a reduction in headache frequency or intensity?
- Would other symptoms surface upon reintroducing dairy after a 30 day removal?
- Would there be any body composition changes (increased fat loss)?
- Could I really be disciplined enough to go 30 Days without dairy?
Headache Frequency and Intensity
Eliminating dairy had no impact on my sinus headaches. Intensity and frequency have been consistent throughout this year, with a greater spike during the summer. The chart below shows headache intensity (0-5) since mid-March. The area under the red is the period where I was dairy free. Dairy is innocent.
None. Skin and digestion are the exactly the same after dairy reintroduction.
One of the things you hear repeated over and over in the elite fitness community is how removing dairy can help you remove stubborn fat. Stubborn fat for a man would mean lower abs and love handles. It may help others, but I had zero body composition changes during the test.
I was shocked how easy it was to eliminate dairy from a cravings standpoint. I did mess up twice and had to restart the test. Both were cases where I was outside the home and I just momentarily forgot about the test. I used coconut cream in place of yogurt. Instead of putting butter on my veggies, I added coconut oil.
I was going to post a summary on why self experimentation is great, but I already did a post on the topic: My Case For Self Experimentation.
Sep 27, 2011 — 12:26 pm
Thanks for sharing the results of your no-dairy experiment. Other than eating yogurt, butter, and occasionally cottage cheese, I’m following a Primal diet. I’m considering cutting out dairy for the month of October, but I’m pretty sure I’d find it harder than you did!
Sep 27, 2011 — 12:44 pm
@Franziska – I stocked up on coconut cream as a yogurt replacement. It seemed to work. Regular coconut milk didn’t provide enough satiety. Good luck!
Oct 15, 2011 — 1:23 am
Thank you for publishing this 30 day no dairy results; I was beginning to think I was alone with my natural dairy tolerance. I have done the no dairy for 30 days more than once with the exact same results as you (no difference in anything (skin/weight/digestion/congestion) when off dairy and/or when restarting dairy) and I’m pretty sure my doctor thinks I was lying about my efforts to stop diary.
My summary: I’ve quit my doctor and kept my dairy.
Oct 15, 2011 — 9:05 am
@Shanta – The other dairy test I have considered doing is dividing dairy into 3 groups:
1-milk (not fermented)
2-aged cheeses (fully fermented)
3-everything in between (cottage cheese and yogurt)
Since I don’t have a problem with dairy, I’d be interested in seeing if I can get performance gains by discovering if I have a better response to one of the groups. Group 1 is not interesting to me, since I have no access to cheap raw milk. Before I did the full 30 day test, I did a test where I removed Group 3 and kept Group 2. No gain. At some point, I’ll test consuming just from Group 3 and then reintroducing Group 2.
Oct 15, 2011 — 12:52 pm
I eat everything dairy, but I don’t drink milk, simply because I don’t like the taste. (I have the odd cafe con leche here in Spain.) I’ve done a couple of reduced dairy sessions, where I’ve only had whipping cream in my coffee, but cut everything else out and again, no difference whatsoever.
Interestingly enough, my daughter is lactose intolerant, so when she’s here visiting we don’t eat dairy; I have little 2 week dairy fasts here and there, again with no noticeable differences on either side. Either you can eat dairy or you can’t and it comes down to more of a taste preference vs. what type of dairy you are eating. There doesn’t seem to be any negotiation area, at least when I look at dairy consumption between my daughter and myself.
Looking forward to the results of your self test. Keep us posted.