While watching television it is not uncommon to see commercials and advertisements for food products made with milk. One such product, hot cocoa, can contain anywhere from five to six cups of dairy in each serving. For this reason many people are curious about how long it takes for dairy to leave your system after ingesting it. The answer is different for everyone but the general rule of thumb is that unless you vomit or urinate first you will pass anything within 24 hours if it’s a smaller meal and up to three days if you have drunk more than one-third of your adult body weight in liquid dairy over a 24-hour period.
How Long does It Take for Dairy to Leave your System after giving up dairy:
1) Intestinal Transit Time
The first component of this answer is the amount of time it takes for food to travel through your intestinal tract. Since dairy products are made up of various individual particles, their transit time is dependent upon how long it takes for these particles to become compacted into a solid mass at the bottom of your intestines. Studies have shown that this can take anywhere from three hours to three days depending on the quantity and consistency of your meal. In general, the smaller particles, such as those found in milk and yogurt, will leave your body more quickly while larger lumps such as cheese will take longer.
2) Amount Ingested
The second component of this answer has to do with how much dairy you ingested. In general, if you eat smaller meals or snack on milky products throughout the day it will take longer for your body to expel those vital nutrients than if you had eaten one large meal consisting of several cups of milk. The reason for this is that your intestines are constantly producing mucus that helps to cleanse food particles out of your system as they pass through. If you have ingested more dairy than your body is capable of handling at one time, the mucus lining in your intestines will become swollen and overloaded, effectively trapping everything beyond it. It is at this point that everything will stop moving until the mucus lining has had a chance to return to normal.
The third component of this answer has to do with whether or not you vomit. If you vomit before giving up dairy products that have passed through your intestinal tract, they will make a hasty exit due to the sudden increase in pressure from inside your stomach. If you do not vomit, however, the only way for the dairy to be expelled from your system is by urination or defecation. Since it takes longer for waste matter to pass through the lower intestines than it does enzymes and proteins (which is how dairy is digested), it can take days before all of those vital nutrients reach their final destination.
The last component of this answer is dependent upon the age of your body. For a child, it is not uncommon for the dairy codependency to last for two or three days. With an adult it can be up to three to five days.
All in all, giving up dairy or eating a small amount of dairy products that did not cause your body to react violently, you should be able to assume that all vital nutrients have been swept out of your system within 24 hours. Larger meals and those that include large amounts of cheese will take longer than this. The only way to speed up this process is by consuming more dairy or drinking large quantities of water. As long as you do not drink too much water, though, and urinate frequently, all dairy products should pass out of your system within five days.
On another note, it is interesting to note the difference in how our bodies react to high-fat foods versus high-sugar foods.