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”.


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%).


Read all posted tips on the How to Lose Weight-page.

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  1. murray
    Howard, our kids love braised beef cheeks. I also get salmon heads at the market. These are inexpensive and have some regular body meat on them where the head is cut from the body, but I especially enjoy salmon cheeks, which are a delicacy. The remainder is great for making broth.
  2. Hemming

    @Hemming you probably will, my bf used to be like you, now he weights 80kg

    I hope I don't go to 80kg :)

  3. Alex Millne
    The Problem I have, is that I have NEVER lost any weight off the LCHF. I have never done any diets before. Before LOW CARB HIGH FAT, I was eating a low carb style like diet anyways for years just with LESS FAT. I hate Meat with Salads or Vegetables. That was my stable food for YEARS. Only since starting LCHF have I been adding tons of butter, cream and cheese on my menu. Therefore I eat less Vegetables and salads because I'm feeling more satisfied. But sadly this increase in dairy products has caused me to gain weight. I'm not sure what to do.... should I just carry on eating more fat (Butter, oil, meat fat etc,,,) but leave dairy products away???
  4. Alex Millne
    The Problem I have, is that I have NEVER lost any weight off the LCHF. I have never done any diets before. Before LOW CARB HIGH FAT, I was eating a low carb style like diet anyways for years just with LESS FAT. I ate Meat with Salads or Vegetables. That was my stable food for YEARS. Only since starting LCHF have I been adding tons of butter, cream and cheese on my menu. Therefore I eat less Vegetables and salads because I'm feeling more satisfied. But sadly this increase in dairy products has caused me to gain weight. I'm not sure what to do.... should I just carry on eating more fat (Butter, oil, meat fat etc,,,) but leave dairy products away???
  5. Ed
    I would suggest you keep protein at 1-2g per kg of bodyweight, eat the same amount of veggies you were eating prior (or more) to LCHF, but add in the fats until you're comfortably full.

    Comparing now to how you were eating low-carb style before, I believe it would just be reducing the protein and upping the fat while eating more veggies.

    Eating fat is not magic. It just allows you to stay on a low-carb diet long term without feeling that terrible lack of energy on a low-carb + low-fat diet.

  6. Ed
    @murray, @thomas
    The thing to understand about whey-protein is that even though it's a faster aborsbing protein and spikes insulin relative to meat, the protein receptors in the gut senses these highly absorable protein particles very quickly and will downregulate appetite, inducing satiety quicker than a peice of steak.

    In the context of a nutrient and food varied LCHF diet, whey is an excellent addition to keep hunger at bay and providing the body with the building blocks it needs. Just treat it as a supplement - It just shouldn't be your sole protein source.

  7. PatrickP
    Alex, At some point calories do count. I mean, you can be chugging two cans of coconut milk a day and while that is sorta low carb and high fat it's not going to produce weight loss. Eat meat and fish and vegetables and avoid using cheese as anything more than a flavoring.
  8. Alex Millne
    Thanks guys! Yea I will definitely try this option. On some days I could easily consume 250-500g worth of cheese, because I love cheese. I'm addicted to it as a snack. So you guys think I should reduce meat consumption a little and up on the vegetables and fat?

    I currently eat about 500grams of meat per day and weigh roughly 80kg. Height: 171cm.

    Thanks, would be interested in some advice

  9. Zepp
    I think 500 grams of meat is okay for you.. but not all that cheese!

    And if you make shore that the meat is fatty meat, then you get your fat from that.

    There are two problems for beginners on lowcarb.

    1, they think its a meat diet, and stick to that leen cuts they usely do eat.. but more!

    2, they figure out that it supose to be a high fat diet, and let everything swim in butter and cream, and to that they ad cream and chees to everything!

    The real way to do it is to use fatty meat, and not more butter and cream thats needed for cooking.

    If one some time eat not so fatty meat or fish.. then its okey to use some fat sauce, like bearneaise or remoluade.

    And to a sallad its okey to sprinkel some good oliv oil.

  10. Good comment !! It sometimes seems low-carb dieter leave in a dream world !
    Never the less, by reducing apetite increasing food (mainly carbs), it makes things easier.
    But forbidding or limiting high carb food doesn't make them less appealing. The contrary is most observed !!
  11. Sabine
    The importance of eating healthy (animal derived) fats: (please read the whole article)


    A healthy diet depends on healthy non-industrial foods. When doing High-fat, low-carb, you may also want to stay away from manufactured fats, as they can boycott weight-loss and health gain.

  12. David Morahan
    So I'm a little confused Andreas...I look on the back of Tasty Cheese down here in little old NZ and it says 36.3g Fat, and less than 1g of Carbs and no sugars...so where is the Lactose? I can see that Milk here has 5g of Carbs (per 100ml) and Cream has 3g, but all cheese here seems to have 0 carbs (or at least <1g) Are you mainly referring to Cream and cream cheese and Yogurt rather than Cheese in general?

    I'm 20kgs lighter in 3 months following your site, so I'm pretty happy with progress, I just want to get that last stubborn 7-8 off ;-)


    Replies: #64, #66
  13. Sabine
    Re: carbohydrates in cheese
    I looked up carbohydrate content in cheeses per 100g of cheese, they range from almost nothing to almost 50g for a cheese called Gjetost (never tried it). it is always good to check for carbohydrates. (many modern milk products also have been altered and fillers like starches or milk-powder have been added and with it lots of carbohydrates)
    Then it depends on how much one eats: If I eat 100g of a somewhat carbohydrate containing cheese (let's say 8g per 100g of cheese), then I may be fine in my carbohydrate intake. If, however, I eat 400g of cheese in addition to other carbohydrate containing foods, I will be way over my limit for carbs.
    Andreas also alerted to the fact that there can be insulin release in response to certain proteins, and casein is famous for this effect. How large this effect is depends on the individual's metabolism, and probably a lot of other factors.
    So, if a person finds that they have insulin release from eating a certain cheese, it may be a good idea to be careful with this specific substance.
    Andreas may have a more in depth and a better explanation. You may be able to Google it too.
    Reply: #65
  14. Zepp
    When one make chees moste lactose stays in the whey.


    The advice is for those how have dificult to lose weght.

    One can put it another way.. eat real food.. as proper meals, and let the dairys be something to have to make meals with.. dont live on dairys.

  15. Zepp
    Gjetost is a Norweigan speciality.. its made of whey!


    In Sweden we do messmör.. its a spread.

  16. Mia
    wow, well done David :) 20kg in 3 months... awesome!
    Reply: #67
  17. David Morahan
    Cheers Mia..the strange thing is that 20 kgs came off in 8 weeks, with a little help from Micro fasting, then I have plateau'ed at about 85 kgs for the past month and a bit...maybe going off the Cream, Philly and Double Cream Brie I've been living on might make the difference.

    Meat, Fish Eggs, coconut oil, butter and Avocado is all I'll be having for the next few months...that should do the trick

    Thanks for the Links Zepp and Sabine, I'll done some googling and although most of the Lactose seems to disappear at the curdling stage, there is still about 2% left in even the most 'lactose free' cheeses.

    Reply: #96
  18. Eric
    I believe many people are hooked on cheese due to the salt stimulating their food pleasure centers in the brain. Take away the salt, and the taste is not so stimulating.
    You will certainly eat less of the food when it is unsalted.
  19. Lila
    I am confused about the combination of foods. There is some information out there suggesting combining fats with carbs (even low carbs) is a bad idea and causes weight gain?

    “The deleterious effects of fat have been measured in the presence of high carbohydrate.

    A high fat diet in the presence of high carbohydrate is different than a high fat diet in the presence of low carbohydrate.” ~Richard Feinman, PhD

    So any thoughts about this? What are the facts and what are the myths? Can we combine our low carbs with high fats?

    What´s the science about combinations of fats and carbs?


    Reply: #74
  20. JANINE
    SORRY BUT NOW THIS IS TOO CONFUSING. It seems that LCHF cannot make up its mind about whats healthy and whats not. Butter, cream, cheese full fat milk products are on the eat as much as you like list. Now you saying we must cut down. I dont know. i hate diets cos in the end they just get confusing. Dr Barry Groves talks about replacing your carbs with fat. Or else you will starve. so i cut down on carbs. I lost 15kg so far. I did according to lchf and replaced the carbs with fat (from meat, butter, milk, cheese). Im kinda at a plateau. i dont see myself losing weight now. i did put a bit back over the christmas period cos i ate a lot of sugary things. so im also trying to lose that 3 kg i gained over christmas. it seems tht my plateau may just be natural and i feel if i just continue eating as i did to lose the 15kg the weight will begin to come off again. now you saying to cut down on milk, cream, cheese etc. i dont know now
  21. JANINE
    and i lost the 15kg in 2.5 months. from 16 September to end November. December was just a bad month for me with tasting this and that. i put about 3kg back on. now i dont even want to weigh myself. il wait till my clothes start speaking. i still have a logn way to go cos my goal weigh is 76 kg. i was 98kg when i lost 15. not sure what my weight is now. any advice regarding rekickstarting my weight loss?
  22. David Morahan
    Hi Janine

    You sound pretty similar to me, started Oct 2 @ 104.5kg got to 84.5 by Nov 26 (work biggest loser comp, good motivation!) stopped being quite as strict and ended up back at 88 after Christmas, with Christmas being Summer down our way its all beer and barbeques,between fish and chips at the beach so hard to keep strict >20g, tried to get back into it over late Jan, but really struggled and then did the Uriscan test and found I'd slipped out of Ketosis. Over the last week I've got back into it, dropped the raspberries and whipped cream, eliminated cream and cheese and nuts, and gone back to basics - bacon eggs, Avo, beef and lamb,little bit of Brocolli and cauli, - now I've got carb flu again, lost 2 and back in Ketosis! sometimes your body just needs a little kickstart i reckon. Have a go at starting from scratch again, start at 86 and turn it into a 10kg challenge. Race you to 75 ;-)

  23. Sophie

    Did you read properly and attentively? Did you pay attention to all the comments? No one said we MUST cut dairy.

    The post includes a *suggestion* to those who can't lose weight to cut the dairy.

    It may or may not work for you... There are naturally occurring sugars in milk and this may be a cause for a slow weight loss.

    Eliminate all sugar! It's a life long decision. It is up to you to find out what works for you!

  24. Zepp
    Low carb must be high fat.. there is no other solution.

    Its mayby high fat-high carb, thats bad, mostly becuse yor body use the carbs as energy and store the fat to starving periods, then you must try to get those starving periods to.

  25. Shell
    Brilliant advice thank you. I've stalled and have tried this and have lost 1lb. Fab :)
  26. K
    The answer is "Eat. Real. Food." (Dr. Lustig) Aka whole food, not the grocery store btw. You know stuff from the animal kingdom our ancestors ate be it deer, fish, buffalo, lamb, bird, pig, cow, etc., or plants likes kale, lettus, peppers, carrots, spinich; w/e is local. Southeast asians eat lots of seasons veggies try some recipes from there or some mediterranean recipes or any traditional recipes that are lost in modernized countries like the states. That's right, you'll have to learn to cook. People eat fistfuls of nuts b/c they don't know how to cook. If they did, they'd use a little bit as an ingrediant for recipes. Use real ingredients too. Not Huntz ketchup (loaded with HFCS), not Yoplait (HFCS again), not Wishbone salad dressing (all kinds of wrong); basically anything prepackaged is suspect of loading refined sugars. Learn to read the the ingrediants label if you're serious about your health/loosing weight or skip the processed foods and learn to make your own salad dressing and sauces or w/e, it's easy. Here, I'll help you out. Mix butter and parsely, add salt if butter is unsalted, melt it on low heat, use on salad or fish (butter recipe learned from a Kenyan friend, also good for sautee and baking). Some other natural fats to try: coconut oil, ghee, lard, tallow, duck fat. I'd say look to your roots for recipes or pick a country and learn a new recipe. Just remember to replace vegetable oil with natural fat.
  27. This is an excellent article on losing weight I will surely be coming back to read more. Thanks.
  28. Daniel Ferreira
    cheese not making you lose weight has nothing to do with being "bad", in the end of the day, its all Calories in=calories out.


  29. This post prompts me to spend the next two weeks without cheese and nuts. I know this is what causes me to struggle with weight-loss since I can easily consume too much food with cheese and nuts. Thanks for the nudge!


  30. Lisa
    I agree. I can eat low carb with dairy and nuts, strict counting of carbs, and the scale will not budge.
    I have found eating mainly fatty meats and eggs and green leafy veg is the way to go. I also eat coconut oil, butter, and avocadoes.
    I try to avoid dairy- cheese, especially, makes me gain in a second. and all nuts. Both stall my loss, and sometimes cause a gain.
  31. Personally I lose weight and stay at my ideal weight with a moderate carb, moderate fat diet. Food quality is important. And starchy vegetables give me fanastic satiety.
    My typical meal will be a palm size of protein, a fist of stach (root vegetables) and then fill the rest of my plate with non starch colour. I add just a little fat - maybe some olive oil and vinegar dressing on a salad.

    In my experience as a nutritionist this suits others too - especially those who are doing high intensity exercise, like CrossFit / bootcamp, who are a little overweight and tend to be insulin sensitive.

  32. The problem with dairy products, especially milk, is that they contain casein - a protein that acts in the same was as gluten. Since I have an autoimmune desease, milk is not an option for me.
  33. Lila
    Can somebody please explain to me what is the glycemic INDEX and what is the glycemic LOAD of foods? I can´t quite understand how it works.
  34. Zepp
    Glycemic index is how fast 50 grams of carbs from a specifik food rises your blood sugar!

    Glycemic load is how much it rise for every gram from the same food.

  35. Lila
    Ok, and which is worse (if it´s high) the GI or GL or do you have to consider both? For example a 30 gr slice of whole wheat bread has a GI of 71 and the GL is 9. So it has a low GL, right? But it spikes the insulin quite fast at 71. And an orange soft drink like Fanta has a GI of 63 for 250 ml and a GL of 23. Both are high, so of course the soft drink is really bad having both glycemics high? So is the slice of wheat bread better because it´s GL is low? This is what confuses me. Like hummus has a GI of 6 for 30 gr and the GL is 0 That means it´s very good? (not considering it´s a legume of course, it´s just an example) So in order to choose your foods you have to look for foods which have both low glycemics?
  36. Zepp
    Glycemic Load is LCHF, one can say!

    Its all about how much blood sugar it produce!

    Its about Total glycemic load.

    And GL is derived from a normal amount in a normal portion in a meal.. so then one have to know what they think is a normal portion of a perticuly food.

    But its only is a concern for those how derive a lot of there energy demand from carbs!

    And its moste of a teoretical value, becuse its mesured/tested on healty/slim persons.

    The only thing one have to know is that every gram of digestable carbs produce blood sugar.. so if one want to track anything.. its total digestibel carbs!

    And to be sure one take those from food thats have other healt propertys.. like vitamines and minerals.

  37. Lila
    Ok, I think I understand how it works now, but I wanted to understand more how dairy works. I do not drink milk because it´s high in carbs, but what about full fat yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese and cheese in general. Why is it so insulimic? It´s moderate in carbs but it spikes insulin high enough to no let you lose weight. And I´m sure there are other foods low-moderate carb and very insulimic. This is how I came to read about GI and GL. So even if it´s low in carbs you have to consider the insulin response, right?
  38. Zepp
    Well to sort it out a bit.. first.. when newbies starts a high fat diet, they have there old low fat conception about whats high fat and start goble a lot of dairys, becuse they think this is high fat food!

    Dont live on dairys, use them in your cooking or to your meals, fry in butter, add som cream in sauce, melt som chees on your veggies. eat some youghurt at breakfast, make Coleslawe, eat som Cameber to yor desert to your vine!!

    But use only full fatty dairys!

    Second to think about.. dont drink your food if you can avoid, eat food to chew on, befor you swallov!

    Milk perticuly is a nutrient solution for calf and babys to grow and gain weight.. its perticully design for that, and its healty too.

    But.. if one is an grown up, that need to lose weight.. one shouldnt drink such a beverage that supose to make you gain weight!

    The insulinogenic effect is about.. its a solution.. it passes right true and out in your blood in no time, make a spike in insulin for storage of the fat, aminoacids and the glucose.. and that how it suppose to do!

  39. Wolfstriked
    Lila,dairy is known to be a high insulin release food.Its the protein that causes the insulin response and when your growing up you want tons of insulin as it promotes growth.Milk after all was the original protein drink.That said,over time high insulin is death.When I eat LCHF I notice an unhealthy glow to my skin and a feeling of lethargy if I increase my protein levels.At the same time as this unhealthiness starts creeping in I also notice a fast increase in musculature.As I age I want less and less muscle just because I notice when I eat more meat(=more insulin)I start to feel unhealthier.
  40. Lila
    Wolfstriked maybe I miss read your comment but protein does not elevate insulin unless it comes together with carbs (like milk does, beans and nuts). Meat alone is pure protein so it barely gets your sugar levels up, and having muscle is healthy, why wouldn´t you want muscle as you age? The more muscle you have the better.

    Any way it´s not about milk that I want to know, (I know what milk does to you insulin levels) it´s about the other dairy products like cottage cheese, yogurt, cream cheese and cheese in general I´m interested. I want to know why they stall weight loss.

    Reply: #92
  41. Hey There. I discovered your weblog using msn.
    This is an extremely smartly written article. I'll be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your helpful info. Thank you for the post. I will definitely comeback.
  42. Zepp
    Noe, amino acids rise your insulin.. to signaling to cells to store it.

    But it altso rise glucagon, to make your glucose levels stedy!

  43. Valery

    I have a question regarding the LCHF diet. Is this diet supposed to be only for people trying to lose weight? or can it be done for thin people trying to maintain their weight and remain healthy?

    I'm about 165cm and used to weight 46 - 47 kg, now I've gained some weight (before starting the LCHF) probably 2 o 3 kg but I'd like to stay on that weight now. I've been pretty thin my whole life but I'm afraid that my current habit changes could affect this.

    Is it ok for me to do the diet? Or should I just eat a normal diet with carbs but just watch out for extra sugary stuff like chocolate, cakes, etc? And I also wondered if after dieting on LCHF a person's metabolism could be changed "forever" when starting to eat carbs again.

    Thanks a lot!!

    Reply: #94
  44. Zepp
    No.. LCHF is a mix of Atkins/Low carb and Paleo.. its suposed to be a healty diet for everybody.

    But if one is healty then one can eat more carbs.. like tubers and fruits.

    If one is skinny, one often have to little muscles, then add some more calories and proteins.. fat and meat!

    I rather think you should gain some weight.. but then let it be muscles.

    Is there any metabolism that change for ever.. I dont think so.. exept for those how have eating them to illness and unrepearble damage.

    One probably get some transitation problems, switching back again.. like high blood sugar and palpations?

  45. Stephen
    Hey Lila, Zepp and Wolfstriked - and everyone else here - thanks for the useful discussion - I would also like to get clarity on this business of milk. I love drinking milk. And in the last couple of months I have had a lot of milk AND I have done less exercise.
    Actually I was doing what someone suggested was a problem, where I was drinking milk instead of making a proper meal.
    Laziness I guess.

    As a result (I think) I have very low levels of Ketones in my urine and I have put on about 3kgs - I think I am retaining more water again

    I have just started to correct this and intend to up my discipline again around milk, to see the difference

    BTW - next month I will have been on LCHF for one year - I have been disciplined throughout although I had to unlearn some dietary habits at first and I have had to learn to manage my love for milk...

  46. Orit
    Hi David Morahan,

    i just wanted to ask you - regarding comment number 67 - if anything changed when you stopped having cream and cheeses, because i am also stalled and want to leave diary.


    Reply: #97
  47. Zepp
    Why dont you just try it?

    At least if you eating a lot of dairys!

    A month is nothing in the rest of your life!

    The worste thing that could happen is that you find some new recepies and ways to eat.. even if this stop didnt adedd anything to your weightloss!

  48. kabota
    i have question

    why most asian (philipino, chinees, thai) look slim while they totally depend on carbs in their diet. always rice, noodles,....etc.? can any body explain that?

    Reply: #99
  49. Zepp
    Its not the worlds most healty and longevity populations you name!

    And its more about time.. when they adapted totaly to a western junkfood diet.. it takes no more then a generation!


    Carbs are not bad per se, many populations now and in the future have thrived on a high carb diet.. mostly on real food. often home grown, or buyed on local markets.

    And the rise in obesety and diabetes did come in the 70-80!

  50. clarisse
    Can I use about time whey protein (sugar free) on lchf. I don't eat meat so I would like to make a avocado smoothie with this. Thanks for your site, it's great!
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