The research that shows the damaging effects of dairy on our bodies, the environment, and animals is endless. Dairy can cause us to get congested, feel bloated, experience painful cramping, and cause skin issues like acne. A recent study found that dairy milk requires three times the greenhouse gases to produce compared to plant-based milk, and factory farms subject cows to unnecessary suffering.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to swap from dairy that is derived from animals to similar-tasting products that are created from plants. There’s never been an easier time to finally make the switch for good from animal dairy to plant-based sources. Here are The Beet’s top ten reasons to ditch dairy.

1. You may be lactose intolerant

An astonishing 70% of the global population is deficient in intestinal lactase, the necessary enzyme to digest lactose. Most people don’t even know that they’re lactose intolerant and many people become lactose intolerant as they age.

For those of us who can’t properly process dairy, we may deal with some icky gastrointestinal symptoms like gas and bloating. Using lactose-free dairy products can make a major difference in reducing those unpleasant symptoms.

2. Less inflammation in the skin and body

Dairy can cause inflammation, even if you’re not lactose intolerant. “Dairy is an inflammatory substance for us all. Chronic, low-grade inflammation leads to poor immune function and cellular damage that ultimately leads to chronic diseases,” Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet. Ditching dairy often leads to clearer, happier, healthier skin.

3. Dairy has been linked to acne

“Dairy increases the occurrence and severity of acne and eczema,” Trista Best, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements says. She says the way we react to hormones in dairy is what can contribute to these skin issues. “Dairy leads to an overproduction of mucus in the body which results in a greater amount of oil on the skin, primarily the face.”

Board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse at SkinSafe Dermatology agrees that milk can be problematic for those who are acne-prone. “Most milk is sourced from lactating dairy cows, who have high levels of circulating progesterone, insulin-like growth factor and other hormones that can send oil glands into overdrive, which can trigger acne,” she says. “Products made from dairy, such as yogurt and cheese, haven’t been demonstrated to trigger acne breakouts.”

4. Your bone health will be fine

We’ve been taught that we need to drink milk to support our bone health, but that’s actually a farce. It’s actually quite easy to intake adequate calcium amounts without dairy. Many of your favorite veggies are already high in calcium. Be sure to incorporate lots of broccoli, dark leafy greens, and legumes into your diet.

5. Dairy milk contains estrogen

As dairy milk contains estrogen it may create a greater risk of breast cancer. A 2020 study found that consistently drinking as little as one cup of dairy milk a day may increase the rate of breast cancer up to 50 percent for women. If you’re regularly consuming two or three cups of milk a day your risk increases up to 80 percent. The current U.S. Dietary guidelines recommend three cups of milk per day which is unnecessary and dangerous.

6. Eggs are unhealthy

Many studies have found that eggs are not good for you and can even contribute to heart disease. Eggs are high in cholesterol which can be especially dangerous for anyone who is at risk of heart disease. One large egg has187 mg of cholesterol. Cutting eggs out of your diet can reduce the risk of early mortality.

7. Dairy is a factor in type 2 diabetes

“Dairy has been linked to several preventable conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Cows milk, especially whole fat milk, contains a lot of trans and saturated fats, which have been linked to heart disease and obesity. Over time, if you drink milk a lot, it can clog arteries and lead to these complications,” Dr. Giuseppe Aragona, MD, at Prescription Doctor.

Dairy products also contain lactose, which is sugar. Eliminating dairy inherently will cut down on your sugar intake. Reducing the amount of excess sugar you consume will help you lose weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

8. Dairy is damaging the environment

A glass of dairy milk requires about three times more greenhouse gas to produce than a glass of plant-based milk. The negative impact of dairy on our planet is a major motivation to quit consuming animal milk. “The number one reason to quit dairy is to save the environment as intensive livestock farming is simply not a sustainable practice as evidenced in the movie Cowspiracy. Greenhouse emissions from operations that produce dairy and red meat account for almost a third of all carbon pollution on the planet,” Dr. Lina Velikova, MD, Ph.D., medical advisor ar Supplements101 says.

9. Abundant dairy-free alternatives

There are more vegan dairy choices now than ever now for everything from yogurt to butter. In fact, the Plant-Based Foods Association reports that plant-based milk sales have grown five percent and now account for 14 percent of the milk category.

The plant-based market has many vegan cheese options from brie to cheddar. There are plenty of easy to follow vegan cheese recipes to try to make at home. Daiya makes fantastic cheese that actually melts and is great for treats like pizza and nachos.

New types of plant-based milk are frequently joining the vegan market. Many are derived from nuts including hazelnut, walnut, macadamia, and almond. If you have a nut allergy you can try coconut, hemp, soy, oat, flax, rice, or pea milk. The super grain barley has even recently been introduced as a milk thanks to Bright Barley.

10. Dairy farms are ripe with animal abuse

The dairy industry is inhumane. Female cows are hooked up to milking machines in small cubicles. The cows are forcibly repeatedly impregnated in order to continue producing milk and are often separated from their young in order to conserve all their milk for human consumption. Male calves are killed or raised for a year or two then slaughtered for beef.