Ask the experts… Is goats’ milk a suitable alternative to cows’ milk?

Fatty cream in glassQ. Is goats’ milk a suitable alternative to cows’ milk?

Goats’ milk is a great tasting and highly nutritious alternative to cows’ milk which many people enjoy. It is not suitable for those diagnosed with a cows’ milk allergy or lactose intolerance (it contains slightly less lactose than cows’ milk, but isn’t suitable for those that are very sensitive to milk sugar). Seek advice from an allergy consultant or specialist dietitian if you’re unsure.

However, goats’ milk is a more natural choice to recipe-based milk alternatives, and nutritionally is very similar to cows’ milk, providing all of the vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you expect from milk and other dairy products. Just one 200ml (7fl oz) serving of goats’ milk provides (240mg) 30% of our daily calcium requirements needed for healthy bones and teeth.

Plus, goats’ milk is just as versatile as cows’ milk and can be used in baking, making smoothies or simply poured over your morning breakfast cereal.

Many people report beneficial health outcomes after switching from cows’ milk to goats’ milk – easier digestibility, gut health, improvement in eczema and catarrh.  Although little scientific research exists to confirm these claims, there are a number of differences between cows’ milk and goats’ milk to offer some explanation.

helen-bond2Helen is the consultant dietitian to St Helen’s Farm, a State Registered Dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. With 19 years experience in the NHS and across the food and pharmaceutical industries, she is frequently quoted in the press and media, while she also features regularly on BBC Radio. St Helen’s Farm has been goat farming in East Yorkshire for more than 29 years.

In the spirit of fair debate, here’s a very interesting counter-argument from Viva’s Food & Cookery Manager Jane Easton…

Have to disagree. Goat’s milk is no more healthy than cow’s milk or any other animal milk for that matter. It’s no coincidence that over 70% of the world is naturally lactose intolerant – basically, no mammal consumes milk after weaning, let alone the milk of another species and it’s one of the most common allergens in even those humans who can drink it. Added to that the fatty content of any dairy milk – goat’s included – and the fact that all dairy involves gross exploitation and cruelty to the animals and their young (yes, including organic), then why not ditch it altogether?

There are plenty of good, plant-based sources of calcium, including good quality plant milks. For an alternative look at the entire dairy question, including goat, check this out.

jane-eastonAs Viva’s Food & Cookery Manager, Jane Easton spends her time researching new products; teaching cookery via demonstrations to various age groups and audiences; writing recipes; contributing and maintaining as well as creating recipes for Viva! and Viva!Health guides.