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Should You Go Dairy-Free for Weight Loss?

Is dairy bad or good for weight loss? If confused about if milk, cheese, and other cow’s milk and dairy products impact weight, learn the truth here!

Should You Go Dairy-Free for Weight Loss?

If you are wondering about dairy and weight loss, you aren’t alone. Many people consider cutting dairy out of their diet in order to lose weight. However, dairy may not be the culprit it is made out to be when it comes to weight loss. 

Read on to find out if dairy-free, weight-loss diets are right for you. 

Is Dairy Bad For Weight Loss?

Dairy is an important part of a balanced nutrition plan. This is largely due to the level of calcium it contributes to the diet, along with fats and proteins. However, far too often, dairy is blamed for unwanted weight gain. 

Usually, when people cut dairy from their diet, the weight loss is more likely due to the following rather than deleting dairy: 

• Changes in caloric intake 
• An increase in healthy habits
• Cutting out an allergen

Dairy is often thought to be as inflammatory as sugar or trans fats. On the contrary, unless you are lactose intolerant, dairy is not always considered an inflammatory food. Sometimes, bloating and other digestive distress symptoms can be confused with weight fluctuations as well. 

Or, Is Dairy Good for Weight Loss?

There are many reasons why eating dairy may actually support weight loss. Dairy sources contain dietary fat, which increases satiety (a feeling of fullness). Plus, protein is important for weight loss.

Recent research suggests that even full-fat dairy foods do not cause weight gain. In fact, dairy may actually help to reduce body fat and protect against diseases! Additionally, yogurt and fermented dairy can add probiotics to the diet while reducing weight gain. 

In other words, the truth is dairy can be a part of a healthy diet and help support weight loss. However, whether you consume it or not is ultimately up to personal preference. 

Consuming either 2-3 daily servings of reduced-fat dairy or 4-5 servings a day of low-fat dairy can be supportive of weight loss or weight maintenance. Milk, cheese, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy products are great sources of protein, calcium, and other beneficial nutrients. 

Dairy-Free Weight Loss Options

If you do choose to go dairy-free, it’s important to make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D. You may need to add supplements to your diet to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need. 

Luckily, many meal plans offer dairy-free alternatives, including bistroMD’s dairy-free meal program options. These meals can help make your diet nutritionally complete as you transfer to a dairy-free diet.

BistroMD’s dedicated dietitians can help ensure your body is receiving a calcium-rich and nutrient-rich diet, even if cutting out food groups like dairy.

The Last Word On Dairy-Free for Weight Loss

Contrary to popular belief, dairy can be a vital part of a weight loss diet. Particularly, foods like probiotic-rich yogurt or fermented milks can promote gut health and reduce weight gain. 

However, if you choose to go dairy-free, supplements and meal plans can help you make sure all your nutrient needs are being met. 


Ilich JZ, Kelly OJ, Liu PY, Shin H, Kim Y, et al. Role of Calcium and Low-Fat Dairy Foods in Weight-Loss Outcomes Revisited: Results from the Randomized Trial of Effects of Bone and Body Composition in Overweight/Obese Postmenopausal Women. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):1157. 

Mozaffarian D. Dairy Foods, Obesity, and Metabolic Health: The Role of the Food Matrix Compared with Single Nutrients. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(5):917S-923S. 

Stiehl C. Will Ditching Dairy Help You Lose Weight? Eat This, Not That! Published July 2021. https://www.eatthis.com/no-dairy-weight-loss/.