Could Milk and Dairy Be Ruining Your Bulk?

is milk ruining your bulk

Got milk? Well, this could be throwing a wrench in your plans to bulk.

With the off season in full swing, many bodybuilders are going through a process called bulking. This is basically when you increase your caloric intake by a good amount (with healthy foods of course) and work out as hard as you can so you can convert that food into straight muscle mass mass. Then when you are in season, you work to burn fat and chisel away at that mass to turn yourself from a mere mortal into an aesthetic God. To get all those calories in you isn’t as easy as it sounds and many builders turn to milk as a staple in their diets to get a lot of calories in a short amount of time, take a look at the diet of Sam Sulek, he certainly gets his milk in. That being said, why not bulk with milk? It’s fairly cheap, readily available, and it does a body good…right?  Well maybe not.

Let’s break down how milk and dairy could be ruining your bulk

Are You Lactose Intolerant?

The question of whether or not milk should be part of a balanced diet is nothing new, it is a long debated topic that has a lot of evidence supporting both sides of the argument. Besides recent claims linking milk to cancer, the main reason dairy is so controversial is because of a naturally occurring sugar called lactose. When someone is lactose intolerant it means they can’t easily break down this natural sugar which can lead to some major consequences, particularly in the stomach..

When lactose moves through the large intestines and colon without being properly digested, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as gas, belly pain, and bloating. Lactose intolerance isn’t something new. Many of you probably know of some people who cannot digest any milk products. But the truth of the matter is – it’s possible to be lactose intolerant on a smaller level. Maybe to the point of not readily noticing it. For example, some people can eat or drink small amounts of milk products or certain types of milk products without problems.

So could dairy be ruing your gains secretly without you knowing? Check out these facts of what lactose intolerance look like – maybe you have it and it’s getting in the way of your bulk.


Probably the most common symptom of lactose intolerance is the gassy feeling of being bloated. Despite being uncomfortable, it can give you the appearance of a distended gut and in some advanced cases diarrhea.


Many builders and workout enthusiast report than when they consume moderate to large amount of milk and dairy products they experience acne breakouts. These breakouts usually occur on the face and the back and usually stop once the person stops drinking milk. If you’re experiencing this during your own bulking program you might be lactose intolerant and want to cut dairy (mainly milk) out of your diet.


While it may seem like common sense to stop ingesting something if it makes you throw up, we would like to ask who of you stopped drinking after his first hangover…even his 10th? We didn’t think so. The truth is unless you’ve had a wild kegger the night before, sometimes it’s hard to pin-point what exactly has made you sick. If you’ve found that you’ve been throwing up lately and aren’t sure what’s causing it, try scaling back on your dairy intake and see if anything changes.

Can You Bulk Without the Milk?

Now that we’ve zone in on the problem what’s the solution? As mentioned before this problem of lactose intolerance is nothing new. Fortunately for us, because of this we have many dairy alternatives available at most local supermarkets. Things like Almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, soy milk…it seems like pretty much anything you can think of can be milked. However, soy milk has also been shown to raise estrogen levels, which can certainly put a bit of a damper on your plans to add muscle mass, as you want high testosterone, not estrogen.

That being said these alternatives simply don’t work for you and you just can’t live without that creamy goodness, you can also try lactase supplements. Lactase are enzymes that aid in the breakdown of lactose, by adding these supplements into your diet they give you the extra enzymes needed digest lactose effectively. You also can use dairy free protein powder.

Dairy Free Protein Powder

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Carnivor is a 100% beef protein isolate that is fast digesting and great tasting for an effective non-dairy protein supplement.

Aside from using things like almond and soy milk, you can bulk with some quality, dairy free protein powder. MuscleMeds Carnivor Beef Protein Isolate is our favorite non-dairy and fast digesting protein supplement that is really making a mark on the protein powder game. It is especially useful for athletes and those who have difficulty meeting their protein needs through food sources alone. But what sets it apart from many protein powders on the market is that it does not contain any whey, nor is it a vegan option, making it a suitable option for people following a whole foods diet who are looking for non-dairy protein supplements.

non-dairy protein powder

MuscleMeds Carnivore Beef Protein Isolate is a revolutionary protein supplement. This protein powder is well-researched and clinically tested to improve muscle and strength gains and aid in hitting your overall protein goals. Each scoop is packed with 23g of hydrolyzed beef protein, this is 350% more concentrated in amino acids than steak and is fast digesting to make it easier on your stomach.

Being non-dairy gives athletes the opportunity to get a dairy-free product that will still produce gains, potentially at an even better rate. With a touch of zero-carb stevia extract for sweetness, this protein supplement not only provides the necessary amino acids but also enhances the taste with a hint of sweetness from the natural stevia extract.

Check out our full review on MuscleMeds Carnivor here!

Wrap Up

If you don’t experience any of these symptoms and have never had a problem with dairy, carry on. Milk probably won’t mess up your gains. If however you are experiencing this and your bulk is turning into a hazy nightmare then take heed. “No pain no gain” applies to the weight room, not your intestines. Have fun and dare I say enjoy your bulking process.

Are you experiencing bulking woes? Has cutting dairy worked for you? Are we completely off with your experience bulking? Hit us up with your opinions below!

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Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.