The Consumption of Dairy and Physical Activity

The consumption of dairy improves the quality of your microbiota and lowers the risk of metabolic problems and this is why it's recommended for periods of low physical activity such as the most recent confinement.
The Consumption of Dairy and Physical Activity

Last update: 23 September, 2021

Full-fat dairy and physical activity go hand in hand. In fact, long gone are the recommendations on the intake of fat-free or skimmed products. Instead, nutritionists suggest consuming the full-fat kind as it contains no added sugars and has a high probiotic content.

The calcium content of milk products isn’t essential though. In fact, you can obtain this mineral through vegetables. Mainly, dairy products, especially fermented ones, contain the kind of microbiota that improves intestinal health.

Furthermore, you can’t get these microorganisms from other types of animal or vegetable products. Thus, you must consume fermented milk-based foods to ensure their presence in your body.

The importance of dairy and probiotics during periods of low physical activity

The intestinal microbiota is nowadays considered an independent organ. This is because it’s linked to brain, metabolic, and even cardiovascular health. In fact, a study published in the journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences links alterations in these bacteria to a greater predisposition to obesity.

The state of the gut microbiota can influence many health-related markers. This is why it’s crucial to keep it in top shape during periods of low physical activity. In fact, failure to do so would increase intestinal permeability and put your health at risk in the medium term.

You must consume at least two servings of fermented dairy per day in order to promote the good health of your digestive tract. Even supplementation with a probiotic strain can be good, as stated in an article published in the journal Nutrition Research.

A woman making a heart with her hands.
Supplementing the diet with fermented dairy products can help balance the gut microbiota.

Dairy products and their relationship with depression due to low physical activity

It’s normal for mood alterations to occur during periods of low physical activity. Thus, you must take some dietary measures to prevent depression.

One of them is supplementation with melatonin as the intake of 5 mg of this substance, 30 minutes before going to sleep, leads to better mental health. Another strategy is to maintain a healthy gut microbiota.

Dairy intake is a basic principle to do so. In fact, there are many studies linking intestinal permeability with an increased risk of depression. As you can see, there’s plenty of scientific evidence to prove that consuming fermented dairy on a daily basis is good for your health.

Consume whole, unsweetened dairy products

The regular consumption of dairy products can reduce deficiencies of certain fat-soluble vitamins, especially fortified versions. Thus, eliminating or skimming these products entails the loss of a substantial part of their vitamin content.

As you can imagine, it isn’t good to consume low-fat dairy products. In fact, this type of product is harmful. In the case of women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, for example.

There’s actually a relationship between the intake of low-fat milk and the alteration of testosterone production that can increase complications in women with this condition. This study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine contains more details about it.

In any case, you must monitor the labeling of dairy products. This is because many of them, especially yogurts, contain a large amount of added sugars.

You may not be aware of it but the regular intake of high-glycemic carbohydrates is associated with a worsening of metabolic markers that increase the risk of disease.

Thus, it’s essential to reduce the intake of simple sugars during periods of low physical activity so as to compensate for the negative effects of said inactivity.

Three dairy containers.
Whole dairy products are more nutritious than low-fat dairy products.

Discover Does Drinking Dairy Products Prevent Osteoporosis?

Dairy consumption and physical activity

As you read above, the consumption of dairy products is highly recommended during periods of low physical activity. Furthermore, it’s essential to read all product labels to make sure you’re purchasing quality goods.

A couple of servings a day of whole dairy products without added sugars will have a positive impact on your health. This is because they mitigate some of the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

However, we must stress the importance of a well-balanced diet. Indeed, you must reduce the consumption of carbs, just neither entirely restrict them nor any other type of food. The best thing to do is optimize your diet so that it adjusts to your energetic and nutritional needs.

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  • Gerard P., Gut microbiota and obesity. Cell Mol Life Sci, 2016. 73 (1): 147-62.
  • Pirbaglou M., Katz J., Souza RJ., Stearns JC., et al., Probiotic supplementation can positively affect anxiety and depressive symptoms: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Res, 2016. 36: 889-898.
  • Cheung SG, Goldenthal AR, Uhlemann AC, Mann JJ, Miller JM, Sublette ME. Systematic Review of Gut Microbiota and Major Depression. Front Psychiatry. 2019;10:34. Published 2019 Feb 11. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00034
  • Rajaeieh G, Marasi M, Shahshahan Z, Hassanbeigi F, Safavi SM. The Relationship between Intake of Dairy Products and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Women Who Referred to Isfahan University of Medical Science Clinics in 2013. Int J Prev Med. 2014;5(6):687‐694.