Everything You Need To Know About: Dairy Elimination

Everything You Need To Know About: Dairy Elimination
eliminate dairy


Sometimes, food sensitivity testing can provide valuable insight into whether individuals are sensitive to dairy. Other times, results are inconclusive, which can prove frustrating for clients after invested in expensive functional tests. The most reliable method we have for discovering food sensitivities is elimination for a period of time and eventual reintroduction, which allows us to observe responses to a given food and decide on the best way forward.

Let’s talk about the reasons why a dairy elimination may be a logical next step, and the best way to go about it.


Why eliminate dairy?

Dairy elimination is highly recommended for those who:

  • have asthma, live with seasonal allergies, chronic sinus or respiratory infections. This is because some individuals are susceptible to an increase in mucus production due to proteins in certain types of cows’ milk.
  • have estrogen-mediated cancer (e.g. breast, prostate) or significant hormone imbalance (because dairy foods are reproductive substances which contain substantial levels of hormones).
  • have chronically loose stools (because approximately 2/3 of the world’s population is lactose-intolerant which can cause nutrient malabsorption due to hypermotility in the intestines).
  • have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (which can be a trigger of flares in some patients – although not always) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Individuals with IBS are likely to have flares in symptoms due to fermentation in the gut of poorly absorbed lactose).

What does a dairy elimination involve?

Dairy elimination may be part of a short term experiment to observe changes in symptoms, or it may be a long term strategy after intolerance has been determined by your healthcare provider or team.  Prior to commencing a dairy elimination, be sure that you understand what your strategy is: whether dairy will be reintroduced at some stage, or whether you are elimination dairy permanently.

Elimination diets are best under the supervision of a trusted health professional.

To eliminate dairy from your diet, be sure to consider obvious sources (e.g. milk) as well as hidden, common sources where you will need to read food labels.

The following is a list of things to avoid completely:

  • milk
  • cream
  • all cheeses (includes those from cow or goat milk)
  • powdered milk
  • butter
  • yogurt
  • kefir
  • sour cream
  • creamy salad dressings (e.g. blue cheese, ranch, thousand island)
  • any other dressings containing milk, powdered milk or cheese
  • creamy soups (focus instead on broth-based ones that don’t include cheese of any kind).
  • creamy sauces (that a restaurant may put on fish, chicken, steak, or other foods – instead, ask for just olive oil and lemon on things like chicken or fish)
  • cottage cheese and cream cheese
  • most muffins, scones, cookies, cakes
  • puddings, custard and related desserts (crème brulee, lemon meringue pie)
  • chocolate and nougat
  •  ice cream

If you’re in a cafe, a restaurant or you are a guest in someone’s home and you are unsure, *ask* if it’s dairy-free or not.

Be mindful of where cheese may lurk in common dishes (e.g. pizza, lasagne, spaghetti, tacos, chips, meatballs)

Restaurant dishes or processed foods that might surprise you (e.g. meatloaf, scrambled eggs, sauces, soups, hot dogs, doughnuts, pastries, pancakes, mashed potatoes, chocolate).

Though commonly confused with dairy foods, the following are fine to eat for dairy elimination:

  • eggs and all egg derivatives
  • ghee (clarified and filtered butter)
  • cocoa butter/powder
  • coconut foods including coconut milk and coconut cream
  • cream of tartar
  • all nut butters

How do I eliminate dairy on a day to day basis?

In general, avoid any processed food ingredient that includes the words milk, butter, whey, casein, or lacto- .

Many foods use preservatives or additives for texture that include dairy. This means you will need to avoid most baked goods unless they are specifically labelled dairy-free.

To help you be diligent in your elimination, here are some particular ingredients to be sure to avoid:

  • Ammonium Caseinate
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Casein Caseinate (in general)
  • Curds
  • Delactosed Whey
  • Demineralized Whey
  • Goat Milk
  • Hydrolyzed Casein
  • Hydrolyzed Milk Protein
  • Iron Caseinate
  • Potassium Caseinate
  • Recaldent
  • Rennet
  • Casein
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Whey (Powder, Protein Concentrate, Protein Hydrolysate)
  • Zinc Caseinate
  • Lactulose Magnesium
  • Caseinate
  • Malted Milk
  • Lactalbumin
  • Lactoferrin
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Lactose


Substitute dairy where you can. You will find your favourite products in time, but here are a couple that I’ve found my clients enjoy:

  • nutritional yeast (flavouring/parmesan substitute)
  • Locako coffee creamers
  • almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, hemp milk
  • coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut yoghurt
  • Bio Cheese vegan cheese or vegan fetta

As with any diet, it’s important to establish suitability with the help of your healthcare provider.


We’d love to hear from you! Email us at hello@joia.com.au.

If you’re a client of JOIA, please feel free to login to our client portal (link at the top right of this page) at the and use the Chat function for support.



  • https://drhyman.com/blog/2017/07/27/still-consuming-dairy/
  • http://www.biomedx.com


Tori Vallen

Founder of Joia Wellness Integrative Nutrition Health Coach