6 Side Effects Of Milk You Never Knew About

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Milk; one food always associated with perfect bones and amazing overall health. Milk; a food often used as a symbol of a healthy diet. Milk; one thing that is considered to ensure strength and optimum growth. The question is, are all these claims even true? Is milk all good and doesn’t have any side effects? Well, to explore that let’s read more and learn about any possible side effects of milk.

Milk is a complete meal. With enough amount of calories, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, it can provide you the best nutrition. Not only this, milk is rich in essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorous, folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A and B12. The abundant amount of absorbable calcium is the signature of milk. Each cup providing almost 28% of the RDA of calcium allows milk to boast its bone strengthening and growing properties.

Good nutrition and strong bones are not the only benefits that milk provides. It can also induce sleep, regulating your sleep-wake cycle. It also possesses the power to reduce stress drastically and alleviate PMS symptoms. Milk coupled with other ingredients like turmeric is famous for reducing arthritis pain, abdominal pain, and period cramps. You can also give milk some credit for your strong immune system.
No matter how a good deal of health benefits milk and other dairy provide, the side effects of milk can not be neglected either. The side effects of milk depend on your body’s reaction to milk. For some people can be nothing great but for some people, it can induce fatal reactions.

Side Effects Of Milk

Here are some common side effects of milk:

1. Allergic Reaction

Milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies. People having such allergies can be allergic either to the whole milk or just a component of milk called lactose. You must be aware of the term “lactose intolerance”. To your surprise, lactose intolerance is so common that it affects about 95 percent of Asian Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, and 15 percent of Caucasians. This shows that allergic reaction to milk is one of the most common side effects of milk.

Fortunately, it is not marked by breathing issues and suffocation for everyone. Some people can show symptoms as mild as an increase in the defecating frequency. The most common symptoms include upset stomach, diarrhea, and gas. While this side effect of milk might not be fatal, it still deprives you of all the nutritional wonders milk provides. Other serious reactions include anaphylaxis, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and bloody stool.

Milk allergies can develop and diminish at any age. If a child is born with a milk allergy, they can grow out of it. Similarly, a person with no history of milk allergy can develop it at any age. So, it is best to always look out for the common symptoms.

Read more about Lactose Intolerance and other food allergies. 

2. Acne

If you have cystic acne, your dermatologist’s first advice will be to exclude milk from your diet. Milk and other dairy products can trigger adult acne. Studies associate acne with the consumption of low-fat or skimmed milk. Whole milk can also trigger the same effects but in very few people.

Milk owes its association with acne, to its hormone-influencing properties. It disturbs hormones like insulin and insulin growth factor-1.

All you need to know, and more about acne.

3. Eczema And Rosacea

Acne is not the only skin condition affected by the consumption of milk. Drinking milk is also associated with the worsening of eczema. This effect of milk can be combated by the delivery of a probiotic to the milk-producing animal, be it a breastfeeding mother or a cow.

The relationship between milk and rosacea is yet to be determined. Although in the past milk has been thought to trigger rosacea, some recent studies show that milk actually has a positive effect on rosacea.

4. Bone fractures

Yes, the milk you thought was here to rescue your bones from any bad can cause bone fractures too. Drinking three or more glasses of milk a day may increase the risk of bone fractures in women. This side effect of milk is due to the sugar called D-galactose in milk. All such studies are not conclusive. There are various factors that a doctor will consider before prescribing you to avoid milk.

5. Cancer

The high-fat content and hormones in milk associate it with the development of breast cancer. A study conducted in 2017 compared the diet of women with breast cancer to the diets of healthy women. Thy study found that women who consume more Cheddar, American, and Cream Cheese have a 53% higher risk for breast cancer.

Excess calcium in the milk increases the risk of prostate cancer. Similarly, certain sugars in the milk can slightly increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer.

6. Weight Gain

One of the most prominent side effects of milk is weight gain. Milk is high in calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein making it a rich and complete meal. Excessive consumption of milk, either on its own or in tea or coffee can result in weight gain.

You must be confused about why then milk is recommended in weight-loss diets? The reason behind that is, milk being a rich food keeps you full for long preventing you from eating any junk and empty calorie foods. So it all trickles down to what you complement your milk with and what other foods you consume throughout the day.

The Final Verdict

There is no denying that milk can do wonders that not many foods can do. It ensures optimum growth, remarkable strength, and good overall health. Still, the ill effects of milk and dairy products can not be avoided. Especially in times like today, when our milk contains preservatives and other chemicals. Keeping aside the “Gawaley ka doodh”, which contains nothing but dirty water and a hint of real milk, quality milk has chemicals approved by FDA.

If you are not allergic to milk, not vegan, and are not on a special diet, there is no reason to skimp on this bounty of nature. It is best to consult a nutritionist and let them decide if you should take milk or not. They will consider all the benefits and side effects of milk along with its effect on your body and systems.


1. Is milk bad for health?

No, milk is not bad for your health. Milk, like all other foods, has some side effects you should consider before consuming it.

2. What are some alternatives to milk?

Some common alternatives of milk are soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk, etc.

3. How to know if one has a milk allergy or not?

The best way is to look for symptoms and consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.


Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with top nutritionists in Pakistan through Marham by calling our helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online appointment booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.

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Hiba Batool
She is a nutrition graduate from Kinnaird College, Lahore. She is a nutritionist by profession. Her interests lie in medical research and writing. She masters in all topics related to nutrition and health.