Does the Milk Diet Help You Lose Weight?

Since the word “diet” automatically brings to mind weight loss in our society, it’s not surprising that people could confuse the original milk diet with a weight loss method. (I say “original” because the dairy industry is calling a their new weight loss plan a milk diet. Yes, the one where you add three servings of pasteurized, homogenized, denatured dairy to your SAD diet–a far cry from the real milk diet.)

The focus of the original milk diet–or milk cure, as it’s also known–was on healing the body and resolving health issues. And, in my opinion, this may be exactly why the milk diet is well-suited for individuals aiming to lose excess fat weight. Why? Because even though the milk diet wasn’t designed specifically for weight loss, it has the ability to target the root cause behind unwanted weight gain.

If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed I adhere to a slightly unorthodox approach to weight loss: it’s not all about calories or exercise or even macronutrient ratios. It’s about the fact that your body gains too much fat weight when it’s out of balance. I’m all about bringing the body back into balance so it can let go of the excess fat, and so you can finally achieve a healthy body composition.

So, how does the milk diet come into play here? In a few different ways:


It gets you away from refined sugar. No fructose-laden desserts here. Just pure, fresh raw milk - which tastes so great you probably won’t be craving sugar anyway (I’m certainly not, and that’s a big surprise considering my history with sugar cravings).

Raw milk is very nutrient-dense. We’ve all heard the term “overweight but undernourished.” Well, on an all raw milk diet, you’re getting a very complete – and highly digestible – package of vitamins, minerals (including trace minerals), macronutrients, enzymes and more. Your body won’t be wanting for any nutrients on this diet.

Calcium equals weight loss. At least, so says modern science. Several studies have shown that eating a diet rich in calcium can help you lose weight, especially fat weight and specifically abdominal fat. And you have to admit: you can’t get more calcium rich than a gallon of milk per day.

Get some real detoxification. Stop chugging watered down maple syrup and cayenne pepper, and please stop popping those ridiculously harsh colon cleanse pills that send your digestive system through the ringer. Back in the day, the milk diet was known for its powerful detoxification benefits. And frankly I think it’s time to bring back a detox method that won’t kill you in the process.

The milk diet is very nourishing to the kidneys, the liver and the digestive system. It can also strengthen the circulatory system, and can even improve perspiration. All of these systems play a key role in detoxification. Get these systems in good health and your body can handle its own detoxification quite well.

Restore lean body mass. A consistent thread I’ve noticed in literature on the milk diet is that patients commonly experienced the gain of muscle mass during the milk diet, despite the fact that many of them were on bed rest during the diet. The specific components in milk, as well as its digestibility, make it an excellent food for building lean mass like muscle and bone. And as I’ve mentioned before, lean body mass combats fat.

Basically, if you’re like me and believe you need to be healthy to lose weight (and not the other way around), then the milk diet just makes sense. A nourished body is the foundation of achieving a healthy body composition, and I think the milk diet can be a part of that if you’re willing to try it.

Can’t (or won’t) go on an all milk diet? No problem. Raw milk is a nourishing food, even if you aren’t downing a gallon a day. So, in an updated (and way more healthy) version of the dairy industry’s so-called milk diet, how about drinking three glasses of fresh raw milk every day? Now that’s nourishing. And if it helps with weight loss, all the better.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Cheeseslave today.

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33 Responses to Does the Milk Diet Help You Lose Weight?

  1. Thanks, Matt! Yeah, I was really impressed when I was reading that the milk diet seems to balance weight in both underweight and overweight individuals. That really speaks for the healing power of the diet.

  2. Melissa @CI says:

    Yay! I’m glad you were able to venture out to buy more milk. I voted you’d be able to last the whole 4 weeks (as did most other people, I see) so you’ve got to prove us right. We’ve got a lot of confidence in you!

  3. Jedi says:

    Elizabeth here in France raw milk is illegal. I have, however, found an organic milk pasteurized in a bain marie ie the good enzymes are retained… do you think this would be good enough for the milk diet?

    • It could be, but I can’t say for sure. Since you’re wholly relying on milk for your nutrients in this diet, I would really want to make sure it’s quality milk with bioavailable components.

    • Guest says:

      Hello Jedi.   I live in France and get “laid cru” from my local bio shop, no problem at all and certainly not illegal.   

  4. Alexia says:

    I would love to have REAL milk around, I’ve read so many good things about it lately and really, I’d just to love to have something that people didn’t insert a bunch of crap into. Unfortunately, It’s illegal her in MI to buy/sell it so I would have to buy a cow…I’m not quite ready for that yet LOL

    • I know what you mean. We’re actually considering getting some dairy goats since we drink so much raw milk (especially this month!). But I’m hesitant because I don’t know if I’m ready to deal with that kind of time/energy commitment.

    • Heather says:

      Reading this kind of thing, I am beginning to wonder if it might just be time for people in states like MI to form a class-action lawsuit against Big Dairy and the FDA. You have the right to not be poisoned. Reading how raw milk is kept from those who need it makes me very angry :(

  5. Guest says:

    It would cost me $14/ day to do this diet where I live (raw milk here ranges from $7-8.50 per 1/2 gal. Is it really this expensive all over the country, or is this still just a specialty niche here in the Seattle area?
    I would love to do this to lose those few extra “abdominal fat” pounds. :)
    I have one concern with all of this though: I was reading on milk-diet.com website and came across this quote from Macfadden’s book on the diet:
    “The exclusive milk diet should not be prescribed, ordinarily, for one who is in good health. It is an upbuilding diet for those who have been suffering with disease and are struggling to get back to normal health as speedily and perfectly as possible.”
    What do you think about this statement?

    • Wow, that is really expensive. I pay $6/gallon here, the same as commercial organic milk at the store. So, I’m spending more on milk than usual, but overall I think it’s going to come close to breaking even since I’m not eating any other foods.

      I understand your concern about that statement, I had to think about it for a while, too. And here’s my take on it: there are few people in our modern society who are in truly “good health.” Most of us have come from a background of unhealthy diets, damaging habits and stress. MacFadden wrote his book in 1923, when most people still lived off whole, real foods grown the old-fashioned way. Life was generally a lot slower back then, too. Today I think things like nutrient-dense foods and detoxification are even more relevant than they were back then. In that sense, I think the milk diet is even more applicable now than it was then.

      • Kate says:

        That sounds logical. I wonder what possible adverse reactions a “healthy” person might have on this diet. Reminds me of some reading I did by Marc David (Slow Down Diet, Nourishing Wisdom) which I may have to dive back into again- every diet seems to have a time and a place.

        • Heather says:

          Hi Kate. I’m healthy and even have healthy genes (I took a DNA test to be sure). My only problem was persistent lactose intolerance. I switched to raw milk. Not only is the LI gone, I am losing belly fat and slimming down.

          So, I can’t say what “all healthy people” might experience after switching to raw milk, but my experience has been A+.

    • Beth says:

      If you are willing to drive to Enumclaw, it’s much cheaper here: http://meadowwoodorganics.com/Store.html

  6. Dadrooooo says:

    This is great, I cant wait to keep reading about your progress. How much are you drinking and how often? You said a gallon a day but I havent seen if you are drinking 1 cup every half hour like I’ve seen said is what needs to be done. Have you had any gas or bloating or cramping? Ive seen some people that experience that for the first week or so. Ive been thinking about doing the raw milk cure for 2-4 weeks but I cant get more than 2 gallons a week right now and Ill likely need 8-10 gallons a week.
    Also, how do I login so I dont post as a guest? It says above this comment box that theres an optional place to logon, but I dont see one!

    • Dadrooooo says:

      Nevermind after I clicked post it brought up a login window

    • I do divide my milk up over the day as much as possible. I probably lean more toward every hour rather than every half-hour, but sometimes I drink it more often. I try to never go more than an hour without milk (except when I’m sleeping). I had minimal bloating on the first day, and very little since then. The second day I had cramping and some diarrhea, but that’s resolved itself as well. I’m trying to work at a balance here to regulate my digestion. It still needs a bit of tweaking. :)

  7. Nera says:

    I’m thinking of starting the raw milk diet as well. I mainly want to start it to clear up my acne and get a clear complexion as well as get rid of cellulite by lowering the Omega 6 in my tissues. I don’t get much in the way of emotional PMS symptoms but I get terrible cramping and bloating so maybe it will help with that. I plan to do it over spring break since I’m in college and obviously it wouldn’t be very easy to do it there. Just need to find where to get some raw milk now… So excited to follow your progress!

  8. 7lindawilson says:

    I am so lucky to have a source for raw milk here in Missouri. I actually have a milk man!! He brings it once a week to us for 4.00 a gallon. I make my own butter, whipped cream for desserts and coffee for an occasional treat and use the leftover milk from the butter  for cooking. I also have a source for goat milk 3.00 a gallon, and  farm eggs that are a dollar a dozen.  We buy all our meat from sources that raise all natural, we have deer,lamb,beef,and pork. I buy from the Farmers Market and garden organic veggies. I am most excited about the milk and have children who bring their friends over to taste REAL milk. Love your site and am telling all my friends about it. I am very interested in raw foods, would love to hear more about good healthy raw stuff. I recently had a bout of trouble with my health and am starting to lose the weight my body held on to by eating as much raw food as possible in my diet. Light exercise and more raw healthy food is doing the trick after surgery helped my problem. :-)

    • Wow! You get some excellent deals on milk and eggs. It sounds like you have made some very positive changes and you’re benefiting so much from them! I’m always glad to hear real food testimonials like this–it’s amazing what real food can do.

  9. Aya Araki says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I really want to do the raw milk cleanse next week. Do you know whether raw buffalo milk would be just as good to use?

  10. Manda says:

    Is there any way to do this while nursing? I have an 11 month old who still nurses frequently, although he also eats “real food.” I really don’t want to put it off as I’m able to become pregnant again any time now, but I also don’t want to dump a bunch of toxins into my little man. But do you think that the benefits could be passed to him too, rather than just the toxins? Or would you recommend just avoiding it. It would be really nice to “reset my system” so to speak and this seems like a simple way to do it. Thanks

    • I don’t consider the milk diet a heavy detox diet. I feel like the most important thing to do while breastfeeding is make sure you’re eating enough calories and enough nutrients–in that context I think the milk diet may provide some benefits. However, when it comes down to it, it’s a personal decision and you should go with your gut feeling.

  11. Robert Muhammad says:

    very informative site. My wife always talks about me and fat because I’m overweight but I’m getting ready to go harder on the milk. I live in New Orleans and raw is definitely better Thanks Peace and Love

  12. bonny says:

    I have problem with constipation if I drink milk. I have been drinking Milk Kefir and it will do that too if its cultured for too long. I can take all the Raw Milk yogurt
    that I want without noticing the bloat I get from milk.
    Sooooo Is it just as good to drink the yogurt instead of plain milk. Same outcome? Please advise.

  13. Joan McCathran says:

    I just love your web sight! The responses from people have encouraged me to not be afraid to enjoy drinking milk. In our state, as with many other states it is illegal to sell raw milk. I purchase organic un-homogenized milk from cows that are grass fed only. Do you think this is still healthy enough? What can be done to obtain raw milk in the state of Maryland?

    • I actually use grass-fed, non-homogenized milk most of the time myself, since that’s what I can easily find in my area. I think it’s an acceptable compromise (though some might disagree).

  14. Fluffy says:

    I have several questions about this Milk diet. Would it be alright to do it with 2 percent regular store bought milk? I live in WA state and am not sure where or how to buy “Raw” milk. By the way how does the Raw milk taste?
    To lose weight how much milk should I drink daily? Thank you for all your information at this site. :-)

    • Raw milk tastes great–a little more rich and more depth of flavor than store bought milk. Regular milk isn’t usually recommended for the milk diet. I would go for the highest quality you can get–organic at the very minimum, preferably grass-fed if you can find it. I don’t normally recommend reduced-fat milk, but I know that when you’re drinking a lot of milk, sometimes slightly lower fat is better tolerated in large amounts. I did fine on full fat milk personally. For weight loss, you can just drink a little less than recommended. Nothing drastic, just perhaps 12-14 8oz glasses per day instead of the full 16.

  15. Abhay says:

    Hi Elizabeth. I have just started a milk diet (well, not exactly a pure milk diet) which would be half a litre of milk twice a day, 300 ml of mango+milk smoothie without sugar and some grilled chicken or vegetable soup to satisfy those hunger pangs and to eat something salty. Does that sound good? Do I really have to omit that grilled chicken or soup to get the desired results?

    • The purists would probably recommend fruit and milk only, maybe some broth for salt. I personally think milk can be very healing even without totally going on a milk diet, but there’s something to be said for giving the digestive system a break from solid foods.

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