Thinking about eliminating milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products from your diet? You’re not alone. Whether or not to give up dairy—and how to do it—is “one of the top questions I’m asked these days,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health‘s contributing nutrition editor.
One possible reason why so many people are ditching dairy? It’s gotten the A-list stamp of approval: Jessica Biel has said she “just feels better” when she doesn’t eat dairy, gluten, or wheat; Australian actress Margot Robbie told ELLE UK she avoids it when filming a movie because she thinks it causes breakouts. And earlier this year, Khloe Kardashian told Health she dropped 11 pounds after just two weeks sans dairy. “If I want to lose weight quickly, dairy-free is the way to go,” she said.
But can a dairy-free diet really help you lose weight, get clearer skin, and generally feel better? The short answer is that it’s different for everyone. “Some people are more sensitive to dairy than others,” Sass says, adding that the effects of giving it up can vary from person to person.
But experts stress that quitting dairy is not something to be done spontaneously or without cause. “You don’t need to eliminate an entire food group unless there’s a legitimate reason,” says Keri Gans, RDN, a nutritionist based in New York City.
That said, if you do decide to give up dairy, there are five side effects you might experience.