Q. “How is A2 milk different from regular cow’s milk and should I drink it instead?
Chelsea M, via email
A. Healthy Food Guide Accredited Practising Dietitian Brook Longfield responds:
Buying your milk is not as simple as it used to be. A2 milk is just one of the many types of milk available that are marketed to help with digestion.
A main component of cow’s milk is protein. And there are two primary types of protein — A1 and A2. Thousands of years ago, cows produced only the A2 protein. These days, with the passage of time and selective breeding, regular cow’s milk contains both A1 and A2, which are simply genetic variants of one another.
But there are some cows still bred to produce only A2 protein.
Small-scale studies suggest that A2 milk is tolerated better than regular milk. There are even claims in the media that A2 milk reduces the risk of autism, heart disease and diabetes. However, the evidence is mostly anecdotal and yet to be confirmed in long-term studies on humans.
If you experience trouble digesting regular milk, you could be lactose intolerant, but always talk to a dietitian before cutting milk out of your diet completely.
If you have no issues drinking regular milk, and since there is no substantial evidence saying A2 milk is better for your health, then there’s no need to switch. And at less than half the price, regular milk is a lot healthier for your hip pocket!