A dairy-free diet is hailed by stars as a fast track to slimming
success, but don't we need the white stuff in our lives?
Tanya Sweeney finds out just how essential milk products are.
In a world where new celebrity mums routinely boast more va-va-voom than should be allowed, Megan Fox takes some beating.
Just three months after giving birth to her son Noah, the 'Transformers' star bouced back to her pre-pregnancy figure and has looked positively red-carpet ready in recent weeks.
Not that she had much weight to lose; after all, Megan only gained 10kg during pregnancy thanks to the tutelage of renowned trainer Harley Pasternak.
However, she puts her success down to a surprising revelation: "I'm not eating dairy, that's my biggest secret," she said.
"It's really hard on your hormones and it's not good. If you want to gain weight, eat dairy. If you don't, don't eat it."
In Ireland, dairy has been a diet staple, yet headlines abound about the pros and cons of a milky diet. Where one school of thought cites a link between breast cancer and dairy intake, another advises that detoxers should steer clear of milk.
Then the Weight-control Information Network (WIN) has claimed that dairy can be included in a healthy diet, although it should be low in fat.
Amid the baffling and often contradictory information, who is right?
Some experts advise that we give our bodies a rest from dairy to restore itself. In any detox regime, the body becomes more adept at ridding itself of toxins and boosting metabolism. This goes some way to explaining why we might feel less sluggish and bloated on a detox diet.
Alas – and look away now, Megan – there is no truth that cutting out dairy is conducive to a healthier, slimmer body.
"Young women avoid dairy as they think, erroneously, that it'll help their weight," explains Dan McCartney, lecturer in nutrition and dietetics at DIT. "The weight of evidence suggests it won't. In fact, drinking milk will keep you slimmer around the middle."
"If you can't absorb the fat, it can't contribute to weight. Other studies show that high milk intake improves satiety (a feeling of fullness) and fat burning can be stimulated by dairy products, but it hasn't been proven sufficiently yet."
Some non-dairy disciples believe that the body burns alcohol calories first, then dairy carbs, before it burns any other type of calorie.
Not true, according to McCartney: "This is true of alcohol, but usually there's no real difference between dairy and other foods."
Health & Living