When people think of a Naturopathic Doctor, they think about nutrition change as one of the foundational elements to good health. Historically, seeing an ND often meant “taking foods away” from your regular eating pattern and although these recommendations were always done with the best intentions in mind, many restrictive nutrition prescriptions inadvertently create problems and long term health risks. 

Diary has been wrongly labelled as inflammatory, immune system disrupting and as an all-round unhealthy food in the health and wellness space for the last decade. But when examined over the long haul, having patients remove dairy without a solid reason (like lactose intolerance or an allergy) may be putting your long term health at risk. 

Here are 3 considerations before taking dairy out of your diet, and why working with a practitioner may be a helpful solution to get to the root of your health problems. 

Patients who don’t eat dairy do not meet the recommended level of calcium required to prevent osteoporosis. 

North American women require between 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day to prevent osteoporosis and support optimal bone health. The average dairy free diet contributes 250-300 mg per day, falling far short of a person’s needs. Studies over the long term have shown that people who avoid dairy (vegan, vegetarians who don’t eat dairy products) have lower bone mineral density and an increased fracture risk than omnivores who include dairy as a regular part of their diet. 

For many, osteoporosis is a distant health concern, and may not be as pressing in their day to day life. Calcium deficiency also worsens PMS, and supporting calcium intake in patients who identify as having PMS improves symptoms. So whether patients are 25 or 50, calcium intake is an important part of overall health and wellness. 

Patients who don’t eat dairy have a harder time getting enough protein. 

Diary is a simple, inexpensive and convenient protein source, with a serving of greek yogurt providing 10-17 grams depending on the brand. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and helps promote muscle maintenance with age. When people remove dairy from their diet, they often lose the protein serving rather than replace it. This can leave patients less satisfied with their meals (and more hungry) and over the long term can contribute to a loss of muscle mass. 

Dietary restriction causes mental distress

Each year our understanding of disordered eating and poor relationships with food expands to include more people and more (often subtle) behaviours. The past visual of what an unhealthy relationship with food looks like captures very few of the people who are truly struggling with their body image and eating behaviour. 

Unnecessary food restriction promotes thoughts and ideas about food that can contribute to a disordered relationship with food. Patients who restrict various food groups have more anxiety in social settings, are more preoccupied with their food and nutrition and exhibit other behaviours that would walk the line of disordered eating behaviour such as other severe food rules or tracking behaviours. 


If you have removed dairy from your diet, are unsure how your nutrition impacts your long term health or are struggling with your food-relationship, we are here to listen to your story. 

Our Naturopathic Doctors are experienced in supporting people develop a healthy relationship with food, follow evidence-based nutrition recommendations and support long term sustainable changes in your lifestyle to promote overall health and wellbeing. 

Reach out to our patient care coordinator team to get connected to the doctor best aligned with your case, or read about our team members here.