Goat Milk vs Cow Milk vs Sheep Milk: What Are the Differences?
We’re told from an early age to drink our milk because it will help us grow up strong. However, when most of us hear ‘drink our milk’, we immediately think of cow’s milk. In the United States, cow’s milk is by far the most popular type of milk, mostly due to marketing and to the fact that cows produce far more milk than other animals. Cow’s milk is the most commercially available type of milk, which usually means it’s the least expensive—especially if you don’t keep a close eye on quality. However, just because it’s the most popular type of milk in North America does not mean it’s the best. Sheep milk and goat milk are also becoming more widely available—either in stores or online— and can often be a better choice.
So what’s the real difference between cow, sheep, and goat’s milk and what’s the best choice for you and your family? Here’s everything you need to know about these three milks and how to make the right choice!
How the Three Milks Differ
Unlike soy milk, coconut milk, or nut milks, cow, sheep, and goat milk are all dairy-based milks. However, they do differ in their chemical makeup. These differences can also account for difference in taste and texture. Cow’s milk is normally the thinnest of the three types of milk with goat milk sitting somewhere in the middle and sheep’s milk coming in as the thickest, creamiest type out of the three. Taste can also vary depending on the region in which the animals were raised and the procedures used to milk them. If the animals were raised in good environments and proper milking and storage processes are adhered to, all three milks will have a similar taste. There is likely to be some variation in taste, though, and personal preference usually comes into play when determining which tastes the best.
Ease of Digestion
Dairy allergies and lactose intolerance are very common in the United States, which makes drinking milk a no-no for many people. Though sheep and goat’s milk are also dairy-based, they are structured differently and therefore are usually tolerated better by those who have trouble with cow’s milk. Of the three, goat’s milk is closest in structure to human milk. It’s easier for most people to digest because it has smaller fat globules and the higher amount of medium-chain fatty acids. In addition, goat’s milk contains fewer milk sugars (also known as lactose) and is slightly alkaline versus the slight acidity of cow’s milk. While cow’s milk takes the normal person over two hours to digest, goat’s milk is digested in a mere 30 minutes and produces far less gastrointestinal disruption than the milk from a cow.
Allergies and Inflammation
Many people are under the misperception that, because goat and sheep’s milk are dairy-based, they will cause allergic reactions and inflammation in those who don’t tolerate cow’s milk well. However, the main allergy culprit in cow’s milk is the A1 type of protein it contains. Sheep and goat’s milk, on the other hand, contain the A2 type of casein protein which is similar to that found in human breast milk. This means less inflammation and far fewer allergic reactions.
When cited as a good source of nutrition, it’s often the calcium content of cow’s milk that gets most of the accolades. However, sheep and goat’s milk are even higher in calcium than their cow-derived counterpart. In addition, goat’s milk has higher amounts of zinc and selenium and its sources of magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus are more bioavailable. This means the body absorbs them easier and can use a higher percentage of the nutrients.
While this would be enough to put goat’s milk over the top when it comes to the competition, it has still more benefits! Goat’s milk reduces bad cholesterol levels while increasing good ones. In fact, its properties are similar to those of olive oil and can be used to naturally treat high cholesterol. Regularly drinking goat’s milk can also help improve your appearance due to the high levels of vitamin A present. Vitamin A can treat acne and improve the overall texture, appearance, and health of your skin, making goat’s milk a good choice for boosting health both inside and out!
If you’re concerned with the health of our environment, you should know that goat and sheep farming have a lower environmental impact than traditional factory cow farming. Both goats and sheep require less space and most goat and sheep farmers maintain small operations with strict guidelines for both the quality of their milk and the sustainability of their farms. This means you can feel good about reducing your environmental footprint when you choose goat or sheep’s milk for your family.
Quality is Key
It’s probably pretty obvious by now that goat’s milk ranks #1 on the list of dairy-based milks due to its high nutrients, easily digestibility, and less likelihood of causing allergic reactions or inflammation. However, it’s important to note that getting your milk— any type of milk—from a reputable company that does not use antibiotics, pesticides, or herbicides and feeds their animals a grass-fed diet is vital.
At the Good Goat Milk Company, we are committed to producing the freshest, most flavorful goat’s milk possible. That’s why we created New Zealand Full Cream Goat Milk Powder. In this form, our goat milk stays fresh and is convenient to ship and store for
our valued customers. We make small batches of our milk so we can follow strict guidelines that ensure the freshest and purest product possible. Our newest flavor even has added Manuka honey for increased sweetness and nutritional benefits. Manuka honey, which is harvested from bees in New Zealand who are raised near Manuka trees, is a nutritional powerhouse that can help with everything from gastrointestinal distress to seasonal allergies and much more. If you’d like to try the freshest, most delicious varieties of goat’s milk, please visit our website for more information and to order yours today.