The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

What would happen if I exclude dairy from my diet?

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Dairy foods are well-known sources of the essential nutrients most commonly lacking in the SA diet, namely calcium, potassium and vitamin A. Dairy is also a valuable and economic source of protein. Cutting out dairy may compromise the vitamin and mineral content of the diet, specifically with regard to calcium.

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Dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese are well recognised as sources of essential nutrients, especially calcium, potassium and vitamin A. These are three of the four nutrients most South Africans struggle to obtain from their diet. Dairy is also a valuable and economic source of protein when households cannot afford meat.  

Excluding dairy products from the diet or limiting their intake may compromise the vitamin and mineral content of the diet, specifically with regard to calcium. Without sufficient dairy intake, you will likely not meet your calcium requirements. This could affect your health negatively, as calcium:

  • helps to build and maintain healthy bones
  • contributes to preventing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension
  • helps with regulating body weight and body composition.

Consult a medical expert such as a registered dietitian before you decide to exclude any food group from your diet.

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