The Verdict Is In for the Cow’s Milk vs. Goat’s Milk Debate

By , Category : Food and Nutrition

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Do you drink cow’s milk?Many people are now wondering whether cow’s milk or goat’s milk is better when it comes to making the healthiest choice.

Let’s take a look at these two foods and see what the scientific community has to say.

Healthy Nutrients in Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk, despite all the bad press, has an impressive array of nutrients. Cow’s milk is a good source of vitamins B12, B2, and D. This animal milk also contains phosphorus, calcium, and iodine. Whole cow’s milk is a good source of protein, plus it contains a healthy dose of omega-3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid. The fat in milk produced by grass-fed cows contains a 2:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3s.

As for phytonutrients, drinking a glass of cow’s milk will net you some beta carotene, and the isoflavonoids formononetin, biochanin A, and prunetin.

Healthy Nutrients in Goat’s Milk

Now, what about goat’s milk? Goat’s milk has many of the same nutrients as cow’s milk. However, the vitamin A found in goat’s milk is more readily absorbed by the body. Goat’s milk also has more vitamin B2 (riboflavin) than cow’s milk. And this animal milk contains more protein and calcium per serving than conventional cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is also a good source of bio-organic sodium which helps in the production of digestive enzymes.

So far so good, for both cow’s milk and goat’s milk. But when researchers recently compared the two milks, they found that goat’s milk edged out cow’s milk in the prevention of certain diseases like anemia and loss of bone minerals. The researchers also found that goat’s milk was better able to stabilize calcium balance.

This, they say, was because of the better bioavailability of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium in goat’s milk. Goat’s milk also had a beneficial effect in regards to levels of parathyroid hormone. This hormone helps to regulate calcium balance.

The researchers concluded that regular consumption of goat’s milk exerts positive effects on mineral metabolism, anemia, and bone strength. Unlike cow’s milk, calcium found in goat’s milk doesn’t interfere with the bioavailability of important minerals found in the milk.

In another study conducted at the Jeanne de Flandre Children’s Hospital in Lille, France, researchers reached a different conclusion about the cow’s milk vs. goat’s milk debate. They note that despite the high fat content in cow’s milk, it doesn’t seem to lead to any greater risk for heart disease factors.

They also pointed out that cow’s milk likely protects against colorectal cancer. They found no evidence that a diet free from cow’s milk will protect against the onset of autism in children (a hot topic amongst parents and medical professionals alike).

They mention that goat’s milk isn’t suitable for infants because it’s high in protein and has low levels of folate. The research team concluded by emphatically stating that goat’s milk isn’t any more superior to cow’s milk nor does it trigger any less allergic response in people who drink it.

The debate will continue, no doubt. But for those who do have a sensitivity to cow’s milk, goat’s milk has been proven as a viable alternative.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Turck, D., et al., “Cow’s Milk and Goat’s Milk.” World Rev Nutr Diet 2013; 108: 56-62.
Zemel, M.B., et al., “Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults,” Obes Res. April 2004; 12(4): 582-90.
“Goats’ Milk Is More Beneficial To Health Than Cows’ Milk, Study Suggests,” ScienceDaily web site, July 31, 2007; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730100229.htm, last accessed Sept. 17, 2013.




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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »