As a milk drinker I was delighted when a2 Milk told me that World Milk Day was coming up! I’m lucky in that I don’t suffer from any sort of milk intolerance (I personally drink skimmed and semi-skimmed milk in my teas, coffees, porridge and smoothies – although sometimes choose other sorts depending on how I’m feeling!), but many people do.
To celebrate World Milk Day (which is today, June 1st), a2 Milk are highlighting the fact that there is a big difference between lactose intolerance and dairy intolerance, and the majority of people who have banished fresh cows’ milk from their diets may actually be intolerant to the A1 protein found within it, rather than the lactose (95% of us in the UK have the lactase enzyme to break it down!). This means that drinking a2 Milk (which contains none of the A1 protein) may be a solution to those of us craving fresh milk but usually feel bloated after drinking it.
DIETITIAN NOTE – a2 Milk still contains lactose and is from a cow, so if you are lactose intolerant or suffer from cmpa (cow’s milk protein allergy) it won’t be suitable. And it’s still early days from a research point of view, so I would always recommend you speak to your GP or nurse about intolerances/allergies and ask for a referral to an allergy or intolerance specialist dietitian. They may ask you to complete a food and symptom diary and it may, for example, be interesting for those who CAN tolerant lactose and who AREN’T allergic to cows’ milk, to see how they feel after both regular cows’ milk and the a2 milk on different days (whilst consuming the same food)..
In my experience milk can sometimes be an issue for those suffering with IBS and so if indeed bloating is an issue (and it’s not lactose intolerance/cmpa) then a2 milk may be an option moving forwards, rather than cutting out fresh cows’ milk altogether.
Research and knowledge is constantly evolving in the field of nutrition and I am always excited to hear about it if it has the potential to benefit others.
- Benefits of Milk
Milk and dairy products provide calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein which are all essential for healthy teeth, bones, muscles and development (especially in growing kids!).
Milk contributes to hydration and it is an ideal drink for post-workout to help replenish energy levels and aid recovery. Studies also show that those who drink milk are more likely to be slimmer than those who do not and milk may help to reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- a2 Milk
Originally all cows produced milk containing only the A2 beta-type protein. However over time, another milk protein emerged – A1 – which is in the majority of milk in our fridges. With so many people considering themselves dairy intolerant, new research, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, could prove a revelation.
The research, published in 2014, was the first ever human digestion clinical trial, led by Professor Sebely Pal at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and they compared the impact of the commonly consumed A1 protein to that of A2 protein. Scores for bloating were 61% higher and scores for abdominal pain went up 38% when drinking the A1 protein milk versus the A2 protein, amongst a group of people who said they were dairy intolerant.
Whilst lactose, the sugar in milk, is often thought to be the problem, in reality only 5% have a lactose intolerance. In the majority of cases, digestive issues can be caused by an intolerance to the A1 protein. For these people just a simple switch to a2 Milk, which naturally only contains the A2 protein and not the A1 protein, could help solve the problem forever.
The new research also revealed that it is not just one person being affected by their perceived food intolerance – often their whole family has to follow suit to make life easier. Over 1 in 4 (28%) surveyed admit they cut cows’ milk from the entire household to avoid having to buy both dairy and an alternative, and therefore denying other family members of the nutritional benefits of milk.
The a2 Milk Company launched in the UK in 2012 and has already set up around 20 farms that naturally produce milk containing only the A2 protein. The A2 farmers, who are paid a premium to rear their specially selected A2 cows, are based mainly in North Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire and The Peak District.
- What the GP says
Dr Hilary Jones, TV doctor, has been quoted as saying: “Many people who struggle to digest dairy often believe they are lactose intolerant. However this is very infrequently the case. A more common reason is in fact the protein in the milk. The A2 protein is less likely to cause digestive discomfort. This has important implications for people with IBS, people who have been reluctantly avoiding milk because of associated intolerance symptoms that are not related to lactose and of course anybody who has noticed minor unexplained consequences of consuming milk.”
I often use milk in my recipes and here are 3 of my favourite dairy intolerant-friendly ones…
Ingredients: 1/2 cup (125ml/115g) a2 Milk, 1/2 cup (40g) oats, 1/2 cup (100-120g/125ml) natural yoghurt, pinch of cinnamon (optional) & toppings of your choice e.g. fruit/nuts.
Method: The night before mix together the above ingredients apart from the toppings (I mix mine in an air tight jar for ease!), then cover the mixture to make an air tight seal (you could use cling-film/foil) & refrigerate overnight. In the morning add your chosen ingredients and enjoy the creamy goodness!
Hot or Cold Chocolate Milk
Ingredients: 200ml-250ml a2 Milk, 2 tsp cocoa powder, 2 tsp stevia/xylitol or honey & optional: 1 tsp coffee.
Method: Add the milk, cocoa & sweetener to your blender (or you could mix well with a fork or spoon) & blend/mix until combined. Either serve cold (over ice!) or pour into a heat-proof glass/mug & heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring half-way through. Give your drink a final stir before enjoying!
Ingredients: 100g quinoa (uncooked), 500ml fresh water for soaking, 500ml fresh water for cooking and 180ml a2 Milk. To sweeten: grated apple, raisins or banana slices. Toppings: cinnamon, berries or nuts.
Method: Soak the quinoa in 500ml cold water for 15 minutes before draining and adding to a pan along with 500ml of fresh water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the grains begin to ‘split’. Drain any excess water off using a sieve. Then over a low-medium heat mix together the quinoa and a2 Milk before adding your natural sweetener e.g. grated apple & raisins and stirring well (instead of the hob you could also do this step in a microwave, heating for 2-3 minutes). Once heated and the milk has been absorbed serve your quinoa porridge topped with your chosen fruit and nuts and enjoy! – This recipe serves two people.
To celebrate World Milk Day the guys at a2 Milk have given me 20 vouchers to giveaway so that you can try them for free.. I will be picking 5 winners in total which means that each winner will get 4 vouchers!
To enter this giveaway (open for 48 hours only!) all you have to do is comment below telling me your favourite way to enjoy milk and then register your entry within the widget – there are more entry points within the widget too!
*This blog post has been written in collaboration with a2 milk. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclaimer page for more information.