Lose Weight by Cutting Down on Dairy Products and Nuts

Do you want to lose weight? Here’s part 11 of 17 in a series of blog posts on the subject. You can read the whole series on the How to Lose Weight page. Note that these later parts of the series are primarily meant for people having a hard time losing weight despite doing “everything right”.

snacks

11. Eat less dairy products and nuts

Can one eat as much as one likes, and still lose weight? Yes, it tends to work just fine with a low-carbohydrate diet, as appetite regulation happens effortlessly.

However, despite the fact that a low-carbohydrate diet generally makes it easy to eat just enough, there are foods classified as low carb which become a problem in larger quantities. If you find yourself having a hard time losing weight on a low carb diet, you could try to be more careful with:

  • Dairy products (yoghurt, cream, cheese)
  • Nuts

Dairy products all contain a varying amount of lactose (the milk sugar), which slows down weight loss. What’s more, part of the protein in milk generates an insulin response, which can have the same effect. Consequently, cutting back on dairy products may accelerate weight loss. This applies especially to dairy products typically lacking in fat, such as regular milk and different yoghurts, but be careful with full-fat dairy such as cream and cheese all the same.

Exempt from all these dairy product warnings is butter, which is almost pure fat. Butter may be consumed liberally as desired.

Nuts, which are the second food to watch, contain a fair amount of carbohydrate, and it’s very easy to unwittingly scarf down large quantities. Cashew nuts are among the worst carb-wise – you’ll find that they contain around 20% carbohydrate by weight. For someone following a strict LCHF diet with a 20 grams of carbs per day allowance, this means that consuming 100 grams (which happens in a flash!) will have filled their daily quota. Peanuts tend to be around 10-15% carbohydrate – not putting them in the clear either.

So, for those of you having trouble losing weight: use nuts sparingly. When in a situation where nuts are an absolute must, know that the most harmless ones carb-wise are macadamia nuts (usually around 5% carbs), or Brazil nuts (around 3%).

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104 Comments

  1. Thomas
    Does dairy include whey protein as well?
  2. Yes.
  3. Carrie
    Love your page - will have to cut back on the almonds. No wonder I'm not losing weight. Any advice for someone who can't have dairy or wheat due to allergies? Have been eating nuts!
  4. Hemming
    Is there a lower response in insulin and blood sugar with cream where the lactose is removed compared to normal cream?

    Keep up the good work Doc!

    Best,

    Hemming

    Reply: #5
  5. Lactose-free cream has the same effect as regular cream. The lactose is not really removed it's just pre-digested to glucose + galactose.
    Reply: #6
  6. Hemming
    Lactose-free cream has the same effect as regular cream. The lactose is not really removed it's just pre-digested to glucose + galactose.

    That was also what I expected. Thank you for clarifying.

    As someone who actually needs to put on weight (both muscle and fat). Would it then be an idea to increase my intake of cheese, cream and macadamia nuts?

    Replies: #7, #16
  7. Zepp
    Add more food.. perticuly protein!

    Becuse I presume you don want to put fat on your belly?

    Reply: #8
  8. Hemming
    Add more food.. perticuly protein!Becuse I presume you don want to put fat on your belly?

    Obviously not :)

    But I already eat between 1.4-1.6g protein/kg. I think that's pretty high already.

    Reply: #10
  9. Love your blog. Thank you, Doctor, for your personal responses to our questions. You make us think.
  10. Zepp
    Its dependant of your activity level.

    Some do train there muscells small.

    And if you is an healty but skinny person, you dont need to be affraid of carbs or insulin.

    Reply: #11
  11. Hemming
    Its dependant of your activiy level.Some do train there muscells small.And if you is an healty but skinny person, you dont need to be affraid of carbs or insulin.

    I know. I'm fairly active so I think my protein intake is fine.

    I'm 178cm weighing 50-52kg so I do think that to add some weight (preferably muscle of course). That said, I doubt I could ever go to 70kg.

    Reply: #44
  12. me
    joking, right - 178 cm & 52 kg ?
    Reply: #13
  13. Hemming
    joking, right - 178 cm & 52 kg ?

    No, that's very true. Morning weight was 51.0kg today. After running this morning and being to the bathroom it was 49.3kg (I had to try to see how much I lost, just for the hell of it :P)

  14. LOA
    I've heard on other sites that hard, aged cheeses contain very little lactose due to the ageing process. do you agree that these are better than other kinds of cheeses?
  15. vldr
    perhaps just call it the butter and bacon diet , because there's not a whole lot left this way
  16. As someone who actually needs to put on weight (both muscle and fat). Would it then be an idea to increase my intake of cheese, cream and macadamia nuts?

    Lift heavy stuff & eat more often. Cheese and nuts are fine but there is lots of good things to choose from.

    Plus perhaps less running? Lots of running tends to make you thinner.

    Reply: #17
  17. Hemming

    As someone who actually needs to put on weight (both muscle and fat). Would it then be an idea to increase my intake of cheese, cream and macadamia nuts?

    Lift heavy stuff & eat more often. Cheese and nuts are fine but there is lots of good things to choose from.Plus perhaps less running? Lots of running tends to make you thinner.

    I've cut way back on running. It's only one or two times per week now. I'm already doing resistance training 1 - 3 times/week (which admittedly could be more structured).

    After really starting strict LCHF I lost weight in a period where I did no running at all (although coming from a period with >60km/week). For me LCHF has just shredded me.

  18. johnny
    Oh no! I love cheddar, gouda and swiss cheese. They are a mainstay of my LCHF diet.

    Should I drop them even if I'm still losing weight?

    Replies: #19, #20
  19. Should I drop them even if I'm still losing weight?

    Not if you love them. These are just suggestions for re-starting or speeding up weight loss. How strictly you follow them is your decision obviously! :)

  20. Hemming
    Oh no! I love cheddar, gouda and swiss cheese. They are a mainstay of my LCHF diet.Should I drop them even if I'm still losing weight?

    As the Doc states "If you find yourself having a hard time losing weight on a low carb diet". The article is targeted those who have hit a plateau. If you're losing weight you're probably on the right track.

  21. Alex Millne
    I have not been able to loose weight on LCHF at all!! But then again I eat a LOT of cheese..... so perhaps this is my problem?

    Let me see... I'll let you know how it's going. Going to BAN Cheese products now. What would you recommend eating more of in order to cover my calcium for the day?

    Reply: #23
  22. Sabine
    This is a very useful tip for those who cannot seem to lose enough weight.
    I know people who have been eating nuts by the pound, thinking that this is low-carb.
    Of course, they may even gain weight with all those carbs they are eating.
  23. Sabine
    Re. Calcium: How about drinking bone broth made with nice marrow bones?
    (We also need anything from Vitamin D to K2 and good digestion and more to absorb it and properly process it).
  24. jake
    god forbid that you mention that those foods are high in CALORIES. ENERGY. jeez...

    "Can one eat as much as one likes, and still lose weight? Yes, it tends to work just fine with a low-carbohydrate diet, as appetite regulation happens effortlessly."

    the low carb community seems to think that people eat in response to appetite & energy needs only. that's sad. emotional eating is real, and you, good doctor, also don't seem to understand this.

    Reply: #60
  25. Sabine
    How about fermented cream (creme fraiche)? Does it still contain lactose?
    Is it still bad to eat because of the proteins?
  26. Probably good general advice. However...

    1) Cashews are not nuts. Botanically, they are classified as a seed, and they have to go through significant processing to be edible.

    2) Peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes. The main problem with legumes (aside from the excessive carbs) is antinutrients.

  27. @jake "god forbid that you mention that those foods are high in CALORIES"

    Interesting that there are still CICO trolls even after overwhelming evidence that CICO is severely flawed.

  28. Lindsay
    Thanks but...
    Your site does not include enough of what we CAN eat. A recipe section would be nice, especially as in the beginning you said to eat as much cheese and cream as we want.
    Disappointed with this post and now wondering what I can eat aside from chicken and salad- where the high fat comes from there I don't know.
    Replies: #29, #41, #76
  29. where the high fat comes from there I don't know.

    Unlimited amounts of butter, animal fat, olive oil, coconut fat, fish, avocado, egg yolks, etc. etc.

    + (full fat) cheese and (heavy) cream IF it works fine for you.

    Reply: #30
  30. vldr
    I don't think the etc. etc. is that obvious.

    Cheese is a good snack, yoghurt with nuts is a good breakfast. The choice of food, snacks, breakfast is getting smaller and smaller with LCHF. Salmon, butter and bacon every day is not something I'm looking forward to for the rest of my life.

    Replies: #31, #43
  31. Hemming
    I don't think the etc. etc. is that obvious.Cheese is a good snack, yoghurt with nuts is a good breakfast. The choice of food, snacks, breakfast is getting smaller and smaller with LCHF. Salmon, butter and bacon every day is not something I'm looking forward to for the rest of my life.

    He's only saying to limit/stop eating cheese and cream IF you're not losing weight and you want to do that.

  32. Sabine
    In other words: most nuts are NOT a low-carb food!
    Eat sparingly!
  33. Alex Millne
    Well I like that the Doctor is being honest in his findings and observations.... because fact is, that some people are NOT loosing weight on LCHF. Most of these people are probably eating waaaay too much cheese (my comfort food) and therefore not loosing the weight. I will take the Doctors advice and try it out. Let's see.... maybe this time I'll actually loose some weight on LCHF
  34. Sabine
    Hello VLDR!
    If yoghurt and nuts work for you, go right ahead and eat.
    Some of us have a very damaged metabolism, different from yours, and cannot eat yoghurt, as we get an insulin reaction from it, which makes us hungry.
    Personally, I have learned which foods satisfy appetite and which ones do not.
    This is different for different individuals.
    Calorie-counting is superfluous and does not really reflect the quality and the satiating qualities of the foods eaten.
    Personally, I do not mind Salmon for breakfast, or coconut beef Stroganoff, a large salad, an avocado, a stick of butter, some roasted duck, a cold pork chop from last night, and a million more choices.
    I always eat so that I am not hungry, I do count carbs, and I watch out for hunger-inducing foods.
    Calories will never tell you how nutrient-rich the foods you consume are, and they will never tell you how satiating the foods you eat are. Calorie counting is a waste of time.
  35. @vldr "Salmon, butter and bacon every day is not something I'm looking forward to for the rest of my life."

    I don't have salmon, butter, and bacon *every* day (unless I'm on a cruise, and then I try to have salmon for every meal that I can get it), but I do have bacon and butter most days. And, if I ever get tired of that, there's a freezer full of grass-fed beef in the back room. Then there is chicken (skin ON), eggs, pork, venison, cabrito (goat), sardines, tuna (in olive oil) kippers, and mutton... But I can eat salmon for a looooooooooong time before I would get tired of that. My favorite form is lachs, but I'll go for baked salmon, too.

    If you think LCHF is boring, you are just devoid of imagination, or you just spend too much time in the inner (carby) part of the grocery store without venturing to the meat section. Or maybe you're search-engine-challenged. There are hundreds of LC recipe blogs. My good friend Dana Carpender has published several best-selling LC cookbooks. There is no shortage of different, tasty LC recipes.

  36. I agree with this 100%. Nuts and cheese are very energy dense and it is easy to overeat on these foods.

    If you're losing weight, then this doesn't matter. But IF you plateau eating low-carb, as in you stop losing when you still have weight to lose, then the first thing you should do is cut out dairy (except butter) and nuts.

    @Lindsay: Just google "low carb recipes" - there are entire blogs and books that have been written around low-carb cooking and there are thousands of great recipes out there.

  37. @Sabine "Calorie-counting is superfluous"

    It's not just superfluous. Calorie-counting is an eating disorder.

  38. LyndaF
    I agree with nuts and dairy causing problems. I've been eating low carb for 2 years now, & lost nicely in the first 6 months. Once I lost the weight I wanted to, I stopped watching my intake of "low carb" foods so carefully, my weight came up a bit. In the last 6 months, I have been gaining weight (10 lb) eating LCHF. I found myself overeating, especially in the evening and also in the afternoon. My weaknesses are dairy, nuts (including coconut) and 90% chocolate. Now that I've cut those all out I'm starting to lose the extra weight again. Thank goodness!
  39. FrankG
    A tip for those who want to cut back on cheese is: to try to the older/mature varieties. I find that a little 3 year old cheddar goes a lot further (both as snack and in a sauce) than a 1 year old cheddar -- for example.

    ---

    As for getting bored with LCHF choices... Poppycock! If money were no object, breakfast every day for me would be grass-fed rib-eye, with eggs from pasture-raised hens,

    I still eat a varied, tasty and satisfying diet. And after 4+ years, I see no reason whatsoever why I could not eat this way for the rest of my life.

    You might also find it interesting to read Vilhjalmur Stefansson's account of living with the Inuit. He also had the industrialised westerner's preconception that eating the same food every day would quickly get boring... http://www.comby.org/documents/documents_in_english/stefansson-diet-a...

  40. Sophie
    Also cheese and nuts are much easier to reach for in the fridge than the meat staples...

    I have been on a weight loss plateau recently and had decided to cut out the dairy.

    When embarking on LCHF, it's important to remember its first purpose is to help us deal with hunger and cravings. Indulging emotional eating with ham and cheese between meals is not going to work (I did it!)

    As per the boring aspect: I have found myself VERY comfortable with the red meat/2 eggs combo at least once a day.

    I don't think anyone should complain when going on a web site to get some advice... If you don't like the advice... don't follow it. Andreas is not recommending to cut out dairy to annoy you...

  41. PatrickP
    Lindsay, I am certain the good doctor would encourage you to expand your online research into low carb/high fat beyond his site.You have to just google some key words and you will find tons of information. Try paleo, primal, low carb, etc. Tons and tons of recipe sites. In fact, I often randomly pair certain food terms with paleo and find great ideas for what to eat. Eventually, it'll all become second nature. You didn't learn to eat poorly from a web site. You learned that from a lifetime of bad information. You have to start seeking better information and trying new foods and recipes. Be patient. I promise it'll all start becoming second nature.
  42. PatrickP
    Also, what is so difficult about eating meat, eggs, vegetables? That's as simple as it gets.
  43. Mia
    @vldr, there is other fish to eat, you can have mackerel or sardines for change. Also, don't forget you can have eggs for brekky too! :)
  44. Mia
    @Hemming :) you probably will, my bf used to be like you, now he weights 80kg
    Reply: #52
  45. Tuan
    I think it's time to re-frame the terms "Lose Weight" to "Burn Body Fat Instead of Storing It". That's what a ketogenic diet will do for you.
  46. Bernardo
    The best explanation for these products do be overcomumed is that they don't require preparation. A lot of fat-minded (I include myself) people have placed eating in a position in their habits where it works as an eventual reward, or a mild obssession. Those people are sometimes bored or anxious and search the fridge for something to do/eat. Well, cheese is acessible, nuts as well. In my own experience, LCHF is essencial to help you regain control, but I'm sure, for a lot of cronically fat people, it is not everything. Is it the lactose? How much lactose there is in 100g of cheddar? How about cream? In theory there's almost nothing, right? People are talking about too much protein these days, but what about meat?

    I think LCHF is the only way to finally deal with those issues, but you need to deal with them nonetheless, because they are habits that originated from years of your carb problems and may yet sabotage your weight loss.

  47. Justin B
    Also keep in mind that there are fattier cuts of meat that you may have never heard of. People don't buy the fattier cuts of meat because of the low fat dogma, so they stay in the back with the butcher. Just do some research online, and you'll find some amazing stuff. We just recently discovered pork belly, and it needs no cheese or sauce, just a few basic spices, in order for it to be the best thing you've ever tasted.
    Reply: #48
  48. FrankG
    ...and these cuts tend to be cheaper too :-)
  49. Lots of cuts that are relatively cheap because they are less popular. Tongue, for instance.

    Which reminds me of an old joke:

    Two elderly ladies were viewing the menu in a Colorado restaurant that featured cow's tongue. One asked the waitress if that was *really* the tongue of a cow, to which the waitress replied in the affirmative.

    "Ew, I don't think I would want to eat something that's been in a cow's mouth. I'll just have some eggs."

    Reply: #51
  50. murray
    I have read in places that whey protein has a higher insulin index, so that whey-drained and fermented cheese is benign in terms of sugar and insulin response.

    Personally, I dropped down to my lowest weight as an adult during a two-week trip to Italy where I ate LCHF, including whey-drained, fermented cheeses to satiety.

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