It may cost $20/L, but superfood camel milk could become the next must-have item in your fridge.
Almonds, soy beans, rice grains, camels, goats and cows all have one thing in common — their milk. By: Claire Tyrrell
But not all milks are created equal, so The West Australian asks, what are the pros of cons of each variety and why do some cost so much more than others?
Camel milk, hailed as the next superfood by health enthusiasts, has been in the spotlight as milk from WA’s first commercial camel dairy in Dandaragan hit the market late last year.
Demand for the milk known as “white gold” in the Middle East has doubled in the past four months as it becomes more widely known.
Compared with cow’s milk, camel milk has three times more vitamin C, half the saturated fat and 60 per cent of the lactose.
But Curtin University nutritionist Amelia Harray said there was not enough evidence to promote the variety over cow’s milk.
“Camel milk is full of nutrients, but it is extremely expensive,” Mr Harray said.
“There is no evidence to say it is more nutritious than cow’s milk for the general public.”
Ms Harray, who also works with the State Government’s LiveLighter campaign, said camel milk was similar in composition to human breast milk.
She said there was some evidence to suggest a relationship between camel milk and glycemic control, making it potentially beneficial for type 1 diabetics.
She said milk from almonds and hazelnuts suited lactose- intolerant people, but usually contained only 10 per cent nuts.
“The rest is water,” she said.
Ms Harray said coconut milk was also a good lactose-free option, but was high in saturated fat and often sugar.
Oat and rice milk were beneficial for people who could not consume lactose, but Ms Harray said many of these dairy alternatives would not meet people’s calcium requirements.
“These milks need to be fortified with calcium,” she said.
She said the average person needed to consume 1300mg of calcium a day from different sources.
Soy milk, which has waned in popularity in favour of trendy nut varieties such as almond milk, was also low in calcium.
Ms Harray said there were misconceptions about the impact of soy milk on people’s hormones.
“There are some antioxidants in soy milk that act as phytoestrogens, but people don’t drink enough to have that effect,” she said.
“A glass or two a day is absolutely fine, but soy milk is low in calcium so again you need to make sure it’s fortified.”
Goat’s milk is popular in some circles and is touted as having health benefits similar to cow’s milk. “Goat’s milk is very similar nutritionally to cow’s milk,” Ms Harray said.
Source: The West Australian