Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Milks Ain’t Milk

By Peter Bowditch

Milk is sold as full fat, low fat, fat-free, permeate-free, organic, A2 or unpasteurised, but do the health benefits match the marketing hype?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

I have a choice of several supermarkets for my grocery shopping. All sell full cream and “light” milk with 4% and 2% fat, respectively, for $1 per litre, and most also have racks of other milks at higher prices. For example, you can buy unhomogenised milk for a premium of 50% over the normal price.

The only difference between this and regular full cream milk is that the fat is not dispersed throughout the volume of the container and can rise to the top and form a nice lump of cream. People who buy this are paying extra for something that costs less to make but has no nutritional or chemical difference to cheaper milk.

For very good reasons none of the supermarket chains sell unpasteurised milk. There are people who advocate the use of raw milk, claiming that pasteurisation somehow affects nutritional value, and I assume they will pay more when they buy it from unscrupulous farmers who are prepared to bypass health regulations.

The supermarkets also sell “A2”-branded milk. A2 beta-casein is a protein found naturally in milk – another protein called A1 is also there – and this form of milk is supposed to contain more than usual.

Many health claims are made for A2 milk to justify a price premium of sometimes more than 100%, and recent research has apparently supported these claims. The research, published in the European Journal of Clinical...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.