Consumers Like a2 Milk, Dairy Industry Not So Sure

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A special type of milk first developed in Australia is catching on in the U.S.

The makers of a2 milk claim it’s easier on the stomach than regular milk. It contains only A2 proteins.  Regular milk has both A1 and A2 proteins.

People who find regular milk hard to digest say this is good news but the dairy industry is not so sure.

Four years ago, Lisa Montesanti says her grandson Nicholas stopped drinking milk after being hit with severe stomach pain.

“The symptoms went away when he stopped drinking milk,” explained Montesanti.

But when he saw a commercial for a product called a2 milk, he told his grandmother he wanted to try it.

“I got it for him and he has absolutely no problems when he drinks it.”

Blake Waltrip, the Chief Executive of a2 milk in the U.S. calls it a “natural phenomenon.”

“There’s A1 and there’s A2. And we simply go and find the cows that only produce A2 proteins and that’s what we have in our milk,” explained Waltrip.

Waltrip says that for some people it’s the A1protein that makes milk difficult to digest.

“More than likely everything that we see points to the fact that that intolerance is to the A1 protein, not the lactose,” said Waltrip. In essence, many people think they are lactose intolerant, but they actually have a problem with the A1 protein.

A study funded by the a2 milk company claims that when A1 proteins are broken down in the gut, they form a protein fragment called BCM-7 that triggers inflammation and symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain.

But the National Dairy Council says, at this point a2’s claims are purely theoretical and not backed by any scientific research.

“It’s just a theory at this point in time. There’s no science that really says that there’s any value in this A2 protein relative to conventional milk,” stated Greg Miller, Chief Scientist of the National Dairy Council. “The two studies that were done were with a small number of subjects, looked at different variables that really don’t give us the answers that we need to be able to tell whether or not this is really true or not.”

While the dairy industry doesn’t think a2 milk science is there yet, it says it welcomes innovation and promoting consumer choice.

a2 milk is available in whole, reduced-fat, low fat and reduced-fat chocolate milk.

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