Can You Drink Milk on the Carnivore Diet? (Plus Tips)

Old Milk Man

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The carnivore diet is a simple one with easy to follow rules. Eat animal products and drink water. But what about milk?

Milk has more of a nuanced answer but in simple terms it works for some people and not for others. So the answer can be both “yes” and “no”.

Old Milk Man

Historical Adaptation

Just like plant foods it’s been hypothesized that humans have only been drinking milk from other animals for about 10,000 years.

What can that mean? It means our digestive systems may not have full adaptation abilities to properly digest milk and those that can may experience some unwanted symptoms.

Milk Challenges and Problems

Now how could milk be so harmful and confusing? Here are a few things I found in Dr. Paul Saladino’s book, “The Carnivore Code” and Dr. Shawn Baker’s book, “The Carnivore Diet.”

  1. Humans are not well adapted to consume milk and there are a few proteins in it that ruin the party and activate the immune system.
  2. The protein casein has a breakdown product called beta-casomorphin. This molecule is similar to morphine and it can disrupt the ability to feel full when eating, increase hunger, and possibly lead to unwanted weight gain.
  3. Milk and dairy, in general, can be addicting possibly due to the opiate-like qualities. Dr. Saladino says, “this may be an evolutionary adaptation that encourages babies to drink a lot of milk…(for) calories and nutrients.”
  4. Milk contains sugar and fat. Lactose is a sugar. Milk is unique in that it’s one of the only places in the animal kingdom this occurs.
  5. Sugar and fat together disrupt satiety and that’s why you can eat candy bars, cheese, and milk and not get full. In regards to fat and sugary candy bars, Dr. Saladino says, “these foods are hijacking our brains and triggering our ancestral programming in negative ways.”
  6. Milk doesn’t seem like a good idea if you want to lose weight.

With regards to satiety and the opioid connection Dr. Saladino resorts to two scientific studies:

  1. Comparative effects of whey and casein proteins on satiety in overweight and obese individuals: a randomized controlled trial
  2. Satiety and the role of μ-opioid receptors in the portal vein
stomach ache

Is Casein The Culprit?

Dr. Shawn Baker has found that milk and dairy are unpredictable and some people tolerate it better than others. However it seems like casein can be one of the factors that can potentially cause harm for certain people.

How can casein be a problem? It can apparently wreak havoc on the immune system and may make autoimmune issues worse.

Casein in milk can be broken down into two different variants, A1 and A2.

  1. A1 casein can be found in dairy cows
  2. A2 casein can be found in the milk from other ruminants like bison, goat, and sheep

From what I have read A1 seems to be the more harmful of the casein variants. The potential reason is that it becomes beta-casomorphin 7. This molecule has been linked to celiacs disease, Hashimoto’s, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease and even Type 1 diabetes.

It looks like A1 casein may damage the gut too.

Dr. Saladino referenced these scientific studies which document these findings:

  1. Milk Intolerance, Beta-Casein and Lactose
  2. Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus and cow milk: casein variant consumption
  3. A casein variant in cow’s milk is atherogenic

A Carnivore Diet Doctor’s Opinion

When discussing milk and dairy in chapter 12 of his book, “The Carnivore Code”, Dr. Saladino finishes by saying, “exclusion of dairy in the clients I work with consistently allows for increased satiety, less inflammation, and easier weight loss. If we have an autoimmune issue or are interested in losing weight, I’d recommend leaving it out for at least the first 60-90 days of the carnivore diet.”

Drinks seem to be limited on the carnivore diet and that’s why we wrote: “What Can You Drink on the Carnivore Diet?” Check it out for more non-obvious options.

Lactose Intolerant?

Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride says that after infancy everyone becomes lactose intolerant because we lose the ability to produce the enzyme lactase. Lactase helps breakdown the lactose.

How then do we digest lactose? She says bacteria in our guts help out. She also says some people have healthier guts and that is potentially why some people can handle milk and others not so much.

feeding cows

Not All Milk is Created Equal

The whole lactose intolerance thing is challenged by Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride. She believes raw milk still has the enzyme lactase in it so your body is able to digest it better.

However pasteurized milk may be the reason for lactose intolerance as it removes this enzyme. It also changes the chemical structure of its proteins, its fats, and its carbohydrates and even messes with the bacteria and vitamins.

She says, “many lactose-intolerant people find that they can digest raw milk perfectly well, while pasteurized milk causes all the usual unpleasant symptoms of lactose intolerance, (bloating, indigestion, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.)

Unnatural non-raw milk is homogenized. This process is when milk is forced through a mesh in order to strain and breakdown fat globules. This sucks and it’s only for cosmetics.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride brings up some great points on milk and quality of animals.

She says, “an unhealthy animal produces unhealthy milk.”

In Western Culture and around the world some dairy cows are not treated correctly. In Dr. Natasha’s book, “Vegetarianism Explained” she provides some interesting insight.

  1. We have new breeds of cows which produce 3 times more milk
  2. These cows are not natural and need the help of soy, grain, and other less savory foods to survive
  3. Antibiotics are routinely given to them to combat disease and mastitis
  4. They suffer from arthritis, infertility, cancer and die young

Milk info/Studies/Books from Dr. Cambell-McBride’s book:

  1. We Want Real Food by Graham Harvey
  2. Fresh, Unproccesed (RAW) Whole Milk: Safety, Health and Economic Issues (An Overview) by Weston A. Price Foundation
  3. Dangers of Milk and Dairy Products-The Facts by Dave Reitz

Dr. Campbell-McBride goes on and says, “no wonder medical science has accumulated a large amount of data to show that this milk is a causative factor in every degenerative disease on the plant: from heart disease, mental illness, autoimmune problems to cancer.”

Dr. Ken Berry provides his expertise on the milk and dairy subject!

To Drink or Not To Drink

Should you drink milk while on the carnivore diet? At this point only you can answer this question. There are so many pros and cons and we are all in different stages of health.

If you do decide to drink milk then perhaps raw is the best option. Check out Real Milk by the Weston A. Price Foundation. This is a great resource for milk and where you can find raw milk. (It’s still illegal in a few states.)

I’m pretty sure we can all agree that milk that is pasteurized, homogenized, and from large commercial farms may not be the best bet.

Maybe experimenting for 60-90 days without any milk or dairy is a good idea as suggested by Dr. Saladino. The carnivore diet is an elimination diet and perhaps dairy needs to be eliminated for optimal health.

My personal health journey still has small amounts of milk in it. I add raw milk to my coffee in the mornings but overall it’s a limited amount.

I believe these books to be of great benefit with regards to the carnivore diet and health in general:

  1. The Carnivore Diet by Dr. Shawn Baker
  2. The Carnivore Code by Dr. Paul Saladino
  3. Vegetarianism Explained by Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride
Raw Milk Jug
Raw Milk and Raw Keifer. This is the brand I usually use when living in California.

Other Recommended Drink Related Articles:

  1. Top 4 Drinks on the Carnivore Diet
  2. What Can You Drink on the Carnivore Diet
  3. Can You Drink Alcohol on the Carnivore Diet?
  4. Can You Drink Coffee on the Carnivore Diet?
  5. Can You Drink Tea on the Carnivore Diet?

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or dietician or nutritionist. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.

Resources


Comparative effects of whey and casein proteins on satiety in overweight and obese individuals: a randomized controlled trial

Satiety and the role of μ-opioid receptors in the portal vein

Milk Intolerance, Beta-Casein and Lactose
Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus and cow milk: casein variant consumption

A casein variant in cow’s milk is atherogenic

We Want Real Food by Graham Harvey

Fresh, Unprocessed (RAW) Whole Milk: Safety, Health and Economic Issues (An Overview) by Weston A. Price Foundation

Dangers of Milk and Dairy Products-The Facts by Dave Reitz

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