We all know that dairy milk is one of the richest food sources of calcium and also provides a myriad of other essential nutrients. It really does pack a powerful punch! But for some unlucky people, it can also pack “a punch in the guts” if they happen to be sensitive to the A1 protein found in regular dairy milk.
As a dietitian with more than fifteen years’ experience, I commonly find people are confused when it comes to understanding the different proteins in milk, in particular A1 and A2.
So, let’s now explore the story of a2 Milk™ and banish some potential myths…
Firstly, all regular cows’ milk brands today contain a combination of two main types of beta-casein protein, namely A1 and A2. a2 Milk™ is special because it is the only exception to this. What makes a2 Milk™ different to regular dairy milk is the absence of the A1 protein.
It is the A1 protein that many people seek to avoid by switching from regular dairy milk to a2 Milk™. The a2 Milk Company™ uses comprehensive herd selection to choose cows which don’t produce the A1 protein.
I have had clients, who have experienced digestive discomfort (such as abdominal discomfort and bowel issues) when drinking regular dairy milk, say that they have been able to enjoy a2 Milk™. This is fantastic, as it provides them with all the nutritional benefits of cows’ milk without the discomfort which may have followed a recent latte or milkshake. But I remind them that only a2 Milk™ will allow them to avoid the A1 protein – authentic a2 Milk™ (in its skim, reduced fat, and full cream varieties) which is naturally free from A1 protein.
Like most nutrition information these days, it can be tricky to work out what’s really inside a product from its labelling. Lately, you might have noticed Pura milk and Dairy Farmers milk have added to their packaging that their milk ‘naturally contains A2 protein’. This is correct because, like all regular cows’ milk, Pura and Dairy Farmers have always contained a mix of A1 and A2 protein. But when you read the back label on their milk, you will find that it still also contains around 50% of the A1 protein.
So Pura and Dairy Farmers both appear to be the same as other regular dairy milk brands which all contain some A2 protein (and plenty of A1 protein!).
So, if you want to avoid the A1 protein in regular cows’ milk, stick to a2 Milk™. It is still the only ‘real deal’ when it comes to avoidance of A1.
Alison is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Accredited Sports Dietitian. Alison began her dietetic career at the Carlton Football Club in Melbourne and has lectured at Deakin and Victoria Universities. As an expert in her field, Alison is frequently quoted in the media on a range of nutrition topics. Alison has appeared on radio RRR’s “Run Like You Stole Something” program as the resident dietitian for six years, and as a guest expert dietitian on ABC 774 and SEN FM.