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What You Don’t Know About Your Dairy Products

Subject ScienceBiology
Grade Level Grade 9


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For many, dairy is a common part of their daily diet. From milk, to cheese, to yogurt, there are many ways to consume dairy throughout the day. Because dairy is so common, some may even take for granted that all dairy is the same. However, there may be more to the dairy in your fridge than you might think. Beyond this, there may even be some forms of dairy that are healthier for you than others. Here are a few things that it can be helpful to know about the dairy you consume, and how it may be affecting you and your family's health. 

The Differences in Dairy

Milk can be a healthy part of a balanced diet, as well as a good source of protein. The protein in milk can be separated into two different parts, the casein and the whey, with casein making up the majority of the protein content in your milk. In addition to this, there is more than one type of casein as well, however, the kind of casein that many focus on is called beta-casein. One main ways that milk can be categorized is by the beta-caseins they contain. The main distinction that is made between them is between A2 milk and A1 milk.  

How Caseins Interact in Your Body

The caseins A1 and A2 that are found in milk are often digested by the body in different ways, with A1 being absorbed by the small intestine where it produces a peptide called BCM-7,  that is then absorbed into the blood stream, and can sometimes cause discomfort for some. A2 is structurally more similar to human breast milk, as well as the milk of goats, sheep, buffalo, and certain breeds of cows. Because its structure is more similar to that of human breast milk, it can be easier for the body to digest and assimilate than other kinds of dairy.

Can Some Kinds of Dairy Be Harmful?

Today, most store bought milk contains A1 caseins. While many may not have a noticeable negative reaction to this kind of dairy and may feel fine consuming it, there are others who might benefit from reducing or cutting it out altogether. There is some information to support the idea that those with health issues such as heart disease and diabetes may do better to avoid this kind of dairy. Additionally, there is also some information to support the idea that it can cause inflammation even in those without any health issues, and that it may be the ingredient in dairy that causes discomfort for those with lactose intolerance. 

What Kinds of Dairy Are Best?

Even if milk and dairy are a large part of your diet, there can be many ways to replace A1 dairy products without feeling like you are missing out. Some popular substitutions for A1 dairy are goat milk, coconut milk, nut milks, rice milk and soy milk. When it comes to butter, ghee can be a healthy option, as well as goat butter. There are ways that you can substitute cheese as well, by opting for goat or even sheep cheese. Additionally, there are some kinds of organic and grass fed dairy that contain A2, instead of A1.

The Takeaway

While dairy can be a healthy protein-packed part of your diet, there are different kinds of dairy, and some may be better for you than others. Not only that, but some may even be harmful to your health. Taking a little time to understand these differences and how they may affect you could possibly go a long way toward helping you be informed and able to make the best choices for you and your family. 

So, whether you're thinking about cutting dairy from your diet completely, or take a few small steps to introduce different and possibly healthier kinds of dairy into your everyday diet, examining the kind of dairy you consume could potentially have a positive impact on your health and well being overall.


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