Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet – Milk and Dairy Foods

The very first step to start eliminating Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms is to avoid milk. This may seem like an unlikely first-step, but without eliminating milk then everything else that I teach will fall to the wayside. Milk is one of the most allergy-forming, intestine-ruining, acid forming things you could put into your precious body.

Most Westerners like to drink milk because we have strong positive associations with it. We think it is healthy for us. We also think that it is perfectly natural to drink and that it will strengthen our bones. Most would argue that it tastes good.

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Very few people are out there criticizing dairy and telling you that it is one of the worst ‘foods’ that you could eat. The reason that you’re not hearing this message is that nobody makes money out of it telling you this message. Who do you know would make money out of telling you to stop consuming dairy products? Absolutely no one. Besides, who wants the argument every day with all of the dairy lovers? I certainly couldn’t be bothered hearing another parent insist that they can’t possibly remove dairy products because “if we removed milk and ice cream what on earth would we give the kids?”

On the contrary, who makes money out of telling you that dairy is good for you? The Trillion-dollar industry worldwide who is hell-bent on having you and your kids jam as much dairy into you as your body can possibly handle! If you do, say goodbye to your health.

What Do The Experts Say?

Doctor Neal Barnard writes "Casein is a common trigger for rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain. People often find that their pain disappears when they refrain from eating dairy products. [1]

In the book ‘Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition’, author G. Eisman, states "Rheumatoid arthritis is more severe than osteoarthritis…Since this type of joint pain can be a symptom of a food allergy, dietary change sometimes has a profound effect. Dairy products, the most common food allergen, are one likely candidate as a contributing causative factor." [2]

In his book ‘No Milk’, by Daniel Twogood, D.C., writes "In systemic arthritis, like Rheumatoid, the cause is coursing through the blood, and it got there through the diet. When all of the joints are involved, the cause is not physical, but chemical. It's usually casein. (Eighty percent of milk protein is casein). I once saw a 65 year old man, Bob, who complained of neck stiffness and headaches. His hands were so stiff and sore. Bob lived to play golf. I instructed him to give up all milk and dairy products. Since giving up dairy products, he no longer experienced pain and headaches, and his hands were also pain-free. Joy, a 42 year old woman noticed that her knees were pain-free after eliminating dairy products. Once, after drinking a glass of milk, her knees swelled within 20 minutes." [3]

So what does the actual scientific studies show between the link of Rheumatoid Arthritis and dairy products?

What The Scientific Studies Show

  • A 38-year-old mother with 11-years of rheumatoid arthritis recovered from her disease and attained full mobility by stopping all dairy products. Since her early 20s the patient had had a passion for cheese, consuming up to 1 lb (0 4 kg) a day. Although there was no clear history of allergy or diarrhoea after eating cheese she agreed to try the effect of restricting dairy produce, with the elimination of milk, cheese, and butter from her diet. The authors reported “Three weeks after starting the diet she began to feel better - both the synovitis and the morning stiffness diminished. She was reexamined frequently over many months, and eventually morning stiffness completely disappeared and the synovitis almost completely resolved…The improvement was maintained, apart from when she inadvertently ate dairy produce again-after which the symptoms returned within 12 hours” [4]
  • An experiment was conducted where all dairy products were removed from the diet of patients with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. Out of 15 patients, 7 went into remission [5]
  • A comparison was made of the arthritis-inducing properties of cow's milk, egg protein and soy milk in experimental animals. The 12-week cow's milk feeding regimen produced the highest incidence of significant joint lesions. Egg protein was less arthritis-inducing than cow's milk, and soy milk caused no reaction. [6]
Why Is Milk So Bad For Rheumatoid Arthritis?

  • Milk damages the intestinal environment by increasing the amount of bad bacteria and destroys the balance of the intestinal flora.
  • Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. Following on from this, there is a consistent trend between countries that have the highest consumption of dairy products with the highest rates of osteoarthritis. A book called ‘The China Study’ by Colin Campbell gives amazing insights into these findings. In ‘The Enzyme Factor’ Dr Hiromi Shinya explains the effect of drinking milk on the body’s calcium levels. When you drink milk, your calcium levels in your blood suddenly rise above the usual 9-10mg. Although at first it looks like you’ve raised your calcium levels, the body responds by dumping calcium out through the urine from the kidneys to return the blood calcium levels to normal, producing the ironic result of depleting your overall levels of calcium in your body. [7]
  • Dairy products have been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. They are completely devoid of fiber and complex carbohydrates but loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • About 50 percent of the world's population is lactose intolerant. They are genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products. Shouldn’t this alone give us a big sign that this isn’t a food for humans?
  • Humans are the only animals that drink milk after weaning from their mothers. But even stranger is that unlike any other species in the world, humans are consuming the lactation juice of another animal!
  • Dairy products are commonly contaminated with blood, pus, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.

Ice cream is the worst of all. Some ice creams will use the fat from scraps from slaughter houses. Cooked tallow, suet, and lard are in commercial ice cream. According to Nature’s Path magazine, ‘retail store ice cream manufacturers in the US are not required by law to list the additives used in the manufacture of their product’. Consequently, today most ice creams are synthetic from start to finish. Even if you found a ‘real’ ice cream that does not use any chemical additives, you are still ingesting the fat from animal’s milk which will wreak havoc on your digestive system, as we have just learned. It will also interfere with your immune process, as our earlier literature review showed.

What Should You Drink Instead?

This is normally the section where people would tell you all about Almond Milk or Soy Milk and various alternatives that are going to keep you satisfied and happy. Not me. I want you to get well from your chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis and to have the perfect Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet so advising any of the above is not helping you at all. Almond Milk AND Soy Milk are better than cows milk (because everything is), yet both too high in fat for someone with RA to make dramatic improvements to their health. Someone with RA needs to take their health VERY seriously and should drink only water for a few weeks and watch their condition improve.  The second oldest woman recently died at age 116 years old and her health tip was 'make water your only drink'. She and I think the same. I don't think I'd be pain free from this horrible disease if I hadn't started by eliminated milk. And you should start your new journey towards wellness by doing the same. You'll never look back, I promise!

[1] Neal Barnard, M.D. http://yummyplants.com/vegan-nutrition/vegan-health-tips/dr-neal-barnard-discusses-benefits-of-vegan-diet/
[2] Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition’, G. Eisman
[3] ‘No Milk’, Daniel Twogood
[4] ‘Rheumatoid Arthritis and Food: A Case Study’ BMJ 282:2027, 1981
[5] Isr J Med Sci 21:532, 1985
[6] Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol 80:192, 1986
[7] ‘The Enzyme Factor’, Dr Hiromi Shinya

What do you think about milk?! Shoot me a comment below.



Disclaimer: Do not take this information as personal medical advice. Do not change your diet if you are ill or on medication without the advice of a qualified health care provider (your physician, for example).

Article by:

Clint Paddison
Creator of the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Get free RA reversal training from Clint

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Leave A Reply (30 comments so far)

  • Lulu

    Milk has always grossed me out. And now , instead of feeling a little guilty about it, I am thrilled. Have also lost my appetite for other dairy, just thinking about it. Yuk.

  • Roslyn

    Very interesting article – have you published a book? Just wanting to know if there is any other information re Rheumatoid and dairy. You mention that switching to Soy or Almond Milk is better than dairy but even these products are not that good – is the answer just to stick to plain old WATER?

  • reza

    hi your text is axcellent. i am iranian and thanks about your article. patents with RF what beverage should drink. sorry my english not well

    • Hi Reza, your English is just fine my friend 🙂 Just drink water, like humans have done for thousands of years. For a ‘treat’ you can try testing a medium glass of orange juice with your meals – if this does not aggravate your RA (i.e. because of the sugar content) then you may wish to continue to incorporate it for many reasons, but most importantly because it helps raise HCL levels in the stomach to aid in protein digestion. It’s the undigested proteins entering the blood stream which are causing the havoc

      • Ruth Summers

        Hi Clint , what about organic oat milk, is this bad for us too.

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  • William Nevins

    I was raised in Wisconsin, land of the “Cheeseheads” and America’s Dairyland, As such, I was raised on dairy along with my other 9 brothers & sisters on a small farm. I’ve loved milk, cheese, and ice cream my entire life. However, after reading your information here, I’ve come to agree that dairy products must be eliminated from my diet in order for me to have a chance at defeating RA. I thank Clint Paddison for bringing this revelation to my attention and I fully intend to beat RA with his continued guidance and scientific approach to this incredibly painful disease. Thanks, again!

  • Jenn

    I have been completely dairy free for 17 days, and have no pain at all. I had arthritis pain in SI joint, lumbar, and thoracic vertebra. I ran two miles yesterday and am walking as normal as can be. I don’t care to prove scientific’s in this post. There have been medical peer reviewed journals regarding studies about the improvement of pain after eliminating dairy if anyone wants to google scholar that. I am walking proof to myself, family, and friends that it has helped me. I have always been a dairy lover, but the pain is not worth the consumption anymore.
    I’m free!! 😛

    • Joanne Horan

      me too ! it is a life changing thing to not be poisoned anymore !

  • rosalie

    I have lactose intolerance and RA on my right arm. I had frozen yogurt yesterday and I woke up with my right arm and hand so swollen. And I traced my diet this week, it included cheese, another cup of frozen yogurt, milk, and greek yogurt.

    • Thanks for sharing Rosalie – I hope you are making progress on your right arm

  • nathania

    i am so amazed ,is being contaminated with blood,pus etc, this is a major disgust , no more milk.

  • wendy m

    Is day one just no milk or is it all dairy?

  • Batull

    Hi!! This does sound radical…however every word does make a lot of sense. I too have been diagnosed with RA and happy to incorporate these minor changes to reduce the morning stiffness…will certainly let u know if it works! Would also like to know if consuming warm lemon juice with a little honey daily aggravtes RA?

    • Hi Batull – shoot me back a post to let me know how you’re getting along without the dairy. Hoping you’re seeing positive results. Consuming warm lemon juice is fine for 99% of folks with RA (only every now and then someone has a reaction to citrus) and a little honey is usually fine too. However, sometimes even a small amount of sugar can feed an existing intestinal microbe overgrowth (which is part of the BLAME of RA see here http://www.rheumatoidarthritisprogram.com/the-underlying-cause-of-ra/ ) so the only true answer is test it for yourself and see – but you should be fine in those small quantities.

  • Con

    Adam, I thought a sensible way to eliminate pain or suffering is to try out a suggested solution that sound plausible, of course provided that it would not harm you or costing heaps, right?

  • Jayshree

    I have been suffering from RA since last 8 years and I completely agree with this fact of dairy in one’s diet. Milk is something which agreed with me till I was 40 yrs. But after a detailed study of RA, I stopped consuming milk or yogurt.. Even if a small proportion is consumed in other way, it immediately causes inflammation anywhere in the body. Being a vegetarian, it was diffiucult initially, but once we change our mindset and give priority to our health, non consumption of few items hardly matters.
    Instead, we can have fresh fruit/ juices( without sugar) or lemon water which is beneficial for health.

    • Nitin Khatri

      Hi Jayshree

      My brother is also suffering from RA.
      So I wanted to talk to you.
      How can I contact you.

      Plz contact on +91-9319617172,if you read this post or anyone want to help plz call.

  • khadi

    thank you very much

  • Charlene

    so no soy milk and almond milk is a NO NO?? What will I have for breakfast lol
    I can do this though! With the help of Jesus!!

    • Hi Charlene, a great breakfast alternative is oatmeal and honey. I just buy instant organic oats and add boiling water and cover them for a few minutes to cook. Then, I add raw (unheated) honey over the top and it’s delicious. The honey is one of nature’s richest sources of enzymes and this helps break down the oats (which are easy to digest foods anyways – and wonderful for overall health in so many ways). For the gluten intolerant I suggest continuing on the Paddison Program protocol which avoids all gluten for the first few months (as well as a lot of other nasties like the ones described in the post above!). I also have a glass of fresh orange juice with my oatmeal. It stimulates digestion and gives you that fresh wake up tang! Enjoy, Clint

      • Dustin Matthew

        Honey isn’t consider plant based (vegan). Plus, it has a lot of sugar which isn’t good for RA.

  • Nabwile Miriam

    Interesting to know this, thank you very much.

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  • steven mtc

    hi, beside honey, how about sugar free green tea?

  • Angela

    Hi Clint,
    Thank you for the info. I have osteoarthritis in my lower finger joints but now have Rheumatoid arthritis. The joint in the top of my index finger suddenly swelled and turned red which scared me as it is so disfiguring. I have consumed dairy
    products every day for years.

    I’m going to give up dairy products. Would it be alright to drink homemade vegetable or chicken broth instead? These contain onion, garlic, celery and carrots.

    Would there be a problem with chicken broth?

  • Joanne Horan

    wow, finally a Doctor who gets it. As i child i could not drink cows milk and at age 3 was told by doctor that i now could. I started fainting with in days. Years of chest infection, bright red palms lower back agony mouth ulcers eye ulcers elevated inflammation markers, cold chills joint pain, fainting and projectile throwing up then high white blood cells then autoimmune . 47 years of not ever feeling well until i stopped dairy and its like the sun is shinning for the first time ever. Im saying life changing stuff. My doctors see the change and yet will not agree rather thinking i have gone into remission . Sad that it takes Doctors to suffer themselves before they look into why we are so ill and treat the cause. They rather fill us with more toxic meds to treat the symptoms and that makes us more unwell ! Thank God we have some Doctors who still care about actual good health, not band aids of medication.

  • premjitaujla

    why is it that whenever my sister drinks warm water her body aches and gets stiff she has been suffering from last 15 years she has RA

About the Author

After recovering from chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis, Clint Paddison now teaches other RA sufferers how to heal naturally so they can get on a path towards wellness. Get Clint's free RA reversal tips here


Do not take this information as personal medical advice. Do not change your diet if you are ill or on medication without the advice of a qualified health care provider (your physician, for example).