Wednesday, 3 June 2015

a2 Milk for people who can't tolerate milk protein

Last week, along with 19 other bloggers, I was invited along to an event in London for a2 milk - Welcome Back to Milk promotion. a2 milk is suitable for those who have problems digesting milk protein. Symptoms include bloating and nausea.

Although I’d noticed a2 milk in the supermarkets, I hadn’t taken much notice as I don’t suffer from a milk intolerance, neither do my family.

However, from a nutritional perspective, I was interested in finding out more. For example, what's different about it and why is it suitable for those who have problems with digesting regular cow's milk. Oh, and perhaps I was swayed a tiny bit by their promotional guest, England Rugby Star, Danny Cipriani.

Danny Cipriani was chosen to become a2 milk's ambassador due to his own problems with digesting regular milk and the negative effects it had on his sporting career. The change when switching to drinking a2 milk was hugely beneficial to both his health and sporting performance.

Danny Cipriani photo a2 milk said cafe London
Danny Cipriani talking about a2 milk in the SAID cafe, London
Recently there has been a massive increase the number of alternative milks available in the supermarkets. Where it seems not that long ago there was soya, now we have rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk, oat milk, coconut milk (yum) and even more varieties in specialist health food shops.

Danny Cipriani photo a2 milk said cafe London

I’m not entirely sure why this is. Is it down to trendiness or are there really that many people intolerant to cow's milk? In my own case, I only stopped drinking cow’s milk when I was searching for lower calorie alternatives. I still love dairy though.

What is a2 Milk?

a2 milk for milk intoleranceA2 milk is just like regular fresh milk except it is much easier to digest. It's been shown to reduce bloating and stomach issues that many people suffer with when drinking regular cow's milk. A2 milk is still obtained from cows in the usual way. But what's different is the type of cow selected.

Apparently cows produce either an A1 or an A2 protein and it's milk from cows producing the A1 protein that is responsible for many of the digestive issues people suffer with when drinking cow's milk. In the UK, the majority of fresh cow's milk is produced from cows with this A1 protein.

In order to produce a2 milk in Britain, the a2 Milk Company is working with a few selected dairy farmers in Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales who have identified those cows with the a2 protein. These certified a2 cows are producing milk containing just the a2 protein and not the a1 protein.

Can you drink a2 milk if you are lactose intolerant?

If you have been medically diagnosed with a lactose intolerance, a2 milk wouldn't be advised because it still contains lactose. About 5% of the UK adult population suffer from lactose intolerance.

However, if you are milk intolerant and suffer from symptoms such as bloating, nausea, abdominal pain or vomiting/diarrhea, then you may have problems with the milk protein, rather than the lactose content. A2 milk has been shown to not cause these problems, as was the case with Danny Cipriani.

The discovery of the A2 protein came about in New Zealand back in 2000 when the a2 Milk Company was founded. It’s now a big deal in Australia too.

On a personal note, I was particularly interested to hear about the New Zealand connection. This is because my sister in law, who is a New Zealander and has lived in the UK for a few years, spoke about the fact that whenever she drank milk in the UK, she suffered from diarrhea. However, once she was back in New Zealand, she was absolutely fine with their milk.

a2 milk cartons semi skimmed and full fat
a2 Milk in Tesco
For my part, I'm switching completely to a2 milk for one month. Why? Well, although I don’t drink dairy milk, my children do and they all suffer from certain skin conditions, especially eczema.

It was mentioned during the talk at the promotional event that one of the farmers who produce a2 cows milk, had a child with eczema which totally cleared up when switching to this milk. So it can't hurt to give it a try.

It tastes just the same as regular milk. It's a bit more expensive, but it's about the same cost as the majority of alternative milks out there.

Another plus point, a2 milk isn't processed, it's natural and fresh with no additives or preservatives.

A2 milk is sold in most of the major supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose, Ocado and Whole Foods. Currently it’s available in semi-skimmed and whole and is packed in 1 litre cartons for £1.39.

Ingredients: Milk

Nutritional Information: per 100ml semi-skimmed: 47 calories, 1.7g fat, 1.1g saturates, 4.8g carbohydrates, 4.8g sugars, 3.4g protein, 0.11g salt, 0.9mcg vitamin B12, 122mg calcium.

Nutritional Information: per 100ml full fat: 68calories, 3.5g fat, 2.2g saturates, 4.7g carbohydrates, 4.7g sugars, 3.3g protein, 0.11g salt, 0.9mcg vitamin B12, 120mg calcium.

Note: a2 milk isn’t suitable for anyone who has been medically diagnosed with galactosaemia, lactose intolerance or a cow’s milk allergy.

P.S. as we left the event, we were presented with a small goody bag which included a carton of a2 milk and one of these cute a2 plastic squeezy cows. I wasn't too excited by the cow. However, when I ordered a few cartons of a2 milk with Ocado online this week, they had an offer whereby you receive a 'free' a2 cow with every 2 cartons. Said cow duly arrived and was immediately secreted away by my youngest who has developed a fascination with these cows. (See photos below). They are now selling the cow for £2.
a2 milk cows

a2 milk cows

a2 milk cows

PPS. Thought I'd better include a photo of the cup of hot 'chocolate' I was presented with at the Said cafe, in Soho, London. The Said Cafe is a branch of the Rome Chocolate shop which specialises in high quality chocolate. Behind the counter are three large containers of the chocolate drink - Dark, Milk and Hazelnut. I chose the hazelnut. I felt obliged to ask for a cup as it's what the others were drinking. Because it's so thick, I mean, it's like pure melted chocolate, it's served in teeny espresso cups. I don't tend to consume chocolate in the morning, but couldn't resist tasting a small spoonful. Delicious, but that was enough for me.

Hazelnut Chocolate Drink at the Said Cafe, Soho, London
Hazelnut Chocolate Drink at the Said Cafe, London

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