Dairy, a tale of 2 types

Not all dairy is the same

Not all dairy is the same

Regular readers of this blog will already know that I am now completely dairy-free, for the reasons stated here. Dairy is, for me at least, highly inflammatory and also one of the key reasons why I nearly gave up on LCHF altogether. If despite diligently following all the rules for getting into ketosis your weight is still not falling, or is even increasing slightly, you should perhaps start looking at your dairy intake.

However, not all dairy is the same. Different cows produce different types of milk and this, in turn, is largely governed by where exactly in the world you live. Further, some people may be tolerant to one type of milk (dairy) but not the other.

Types of Milk

During my research, I found this excellent article all about the different types of milk that different cows produce at MotherJones.com, and it’s certainly worth a read if this subject is new to you. The main factor that separates the 2 main types of dairy milk are the A1 and A2 proteins, essentially different forms of the beta casein protein. One of the key points from the article is this:

” “We’ve got a huge amount of observational evidence that a lot of people can digest the A2 but not the A1,” says Keith Woodford, a professor of farm management and agribusiness at New Zealand’s Lincoln University who wrote the 2007 book Devil in the Milk: Illness, Health, and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk. “More than 100 studies suggest links between the A1 protein and a whole range of health conditions”—everything from heart disease to diabetes to autism, Woodford says, though the evidence is far from conclusive.”

This supports my own personal experience and testing and points to the fact that the beta casein protein is inflammatory to a lot of humans.

Are most humans intolerant to dairy of ANY sort?

This is an excellent question and, if you believe the research of Dr. Loren Cordain at ThePaleoDiet.com, the answer is a resounding YES, not just because of beta casein, but also for a whole host of other reasons such as bovine insulin and other animal hormones  found in dairy that ARE NOT removed through pasteurization and are unsuitable for humans. This extensive article from his website goes into far greater detail and is again well worth reading.

Going without Dairy and Milk Substitutes

I have been largely without dairy now for exactly three years and I have only noticed benefits. Indeed, since finally dropping clarified butter as well this summer, I have noticed that I have lost a further 5cm from my waist.  I can not say whether I am tolerant of one type of dairy versus the other; I would have to do some definitive testing to find out, probably involving living in another country for a while, a practical impossibility right now. Hence, I choose to remain completely dairy-free to avoid the inflammation that I am experiencing from the dairy available in the part of the world in which I live i.e. northern Europe. I know of plenty of people who are aware of the fact that they are dairy intolerant when at home in Northern Europe but exhibit no signs of inflammation when on holiday in Southern Europe, due to a change in dairy type.

If you are concerned that dropping dairy will remove an essential source of certain minerals such as calcium then fear not. There are plenty of other dietary sources rich in calcium such as kale and other vegetables, plus you can always take calcium supplements if you are really concerned. There is nothing “good” in dairy that can’t be sourced from elsewhere, WITHOUT the large inflammation penalty. Just do some research..

There are plenty of milk and cream substitutes out there such as soya milk and coconut cream  which I use in both tea and coffee respectively, but these are only really for “aesthetic” reasons rather than anything else. All the rest, such as cheese, yoghurts, etc., I can easily do without altogether.


  • If you are experiencing inflammation symptoms such as regular, involuntary sneezing, runny/ itchy nose and eyes, including hay fever, skin blotches, rashes and/ or eczema-like symptoms then look closely at your dairy intake. Consider drastically reducing, changing type, OR preferably dropping it from your diet altogether, especially during the weight loss phase.
  • Consider milk and dairy substitutes as suggested above.
  • If you are following strict LCHF guidelines for weight loss and you still can’t lose weight and/ or your weight has plateaued for no explicable reason, then consider the possibility that your dairy intake is too high and/ or is of the wrong type and proceed as per the first point, above.

2 thoughts on “Dairy, a tale of 2 types

  1. Hi,
    I listened to your podcast with Ivor and feel like I’m THAT person who SHOULD avoid dairy.
    I’m 62, obviously postmenopausal, and have been keto for about 3 1/2 years. I lost 55 pounds initially without much problem. I had improvement in GERD, edema, and joint pain that have all resolved as long as I stay very low carb.
    I have struggled with the last 20 or so pounds. In March of this year, I went no dairy, and was eating essentially carnivore. I lost another 10 pounds and felt great. The last of any symptoms (especially occ edema) were gone completely. Gradually, i started with dairy again. I missed my dairy, especially heavy cream in my coffee. I am also addicted to Moon Cheese! Over the last couple of months, I gained back the 10 pounds, plus 5 and am at my highest weight since starting this journey.
    A few labs that I do know; Dec 2016 I had an elevated ferritin of 331, HSCRP 0.5, B12 >2000. I have been treated for CIRS due to mold toxicity. I can not tolerate the treatment for this and have accepted it’s something I can’t change and I have to live with it.
    Feb 1, 2019 ferritin was 231, B 12 still > 2000, HSCRP 1.98
    May 2, 2019 my hgbA1c was 5.3. At the same lab draw I had fasting glucose and insulin of 91 and 5.9. I calculated my HOMA IR to be 1.3.
    Thanks for the info. I’m back to dairy free. Possibly dairy free is what I need to manage my CIRS issues also. Any suggestions are appreciated.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.