For today’s Real Food Quote Monday (RFQM), we’re still talking about the book, “Devil in the Milk” by Keith Woodford. I quoted from this book last week, too. I haven’t gotten much farther in it. Because I’ve been tired this week and it takes all my concentration to follow, I haven’t read as much as usual.
But, this bit was interesting, and answered a question for me. It is the first mention of the Guernsey cow – I had been wondering where that breed fit into the A1/A2 picture.
First, a quick review of the A1/A2 issue. The milk from older cow breeds contains mostly the original A2 beta-casein, a milk protein. The milk from newer cow breeds contains predominantly A1 beta-casein, which is like the A2 except that one of the amino acids in the protein chain changed during a mutation. This weaker amino acid allows an opiate-like chain of 7 amino acids to break off during digestion. The chain (BCM7) is linked to many series health issues, like: neurological impairment, especially autistic and schizophrenic changes; auto-immune disease; heart disease; type-1 diabetes; autism; and schizophrenia.
Now here’s the quote about Jersey and Guernsey cows and how they figure into the picture, with regard to studies on heart disease.
“On the island of Guernsey, where the milk comes from the Guernsey breed of cows which produce milk with very low levels of A1 beta-casein, the level of deaths from coronary heart disease is about a third that of the rest of the UK. And in Jersey, the cows are predominantly the Jersey breed which produces milk with some A1 bet-casein, but considerably less than the predominant black and white breeds on the mainland, and the heart disease level is only about half that on the mainland.”
I was happy to read about the Guernsey cow. I had been wondering how it fit in with what the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Campaign for Real Milk advises: “Buy only milk from old-fashioned breeds of cows, such as Jerseys, Guernseys, Red Devons, Brown Swiss or older genetic lines of Holsteins, or from goats or sheep.” I am waiting to learn more about what’s desirable in the older breeds of Holsteins, or perhaps this advice doesn’t pertain to the A1/A2 issue?
And here’s something I appreciate about the book, “Devil in the Milk.” The author, Keith Woodford, backs away from the data and discusses its possible validity. The quoted material above shows the results of population studies with regard to heart disease. Mr. Woodford’s analysis of it concludes that it is statistically significant. In other words, it is highly likely that the higher levels of heart disease are directly related to the prevalence of A1 beta-casein in the milk, although another possibility exists: that it is related to something else, which is entirely unknown to us as yet.
Don’t you think it is fun to read about the Guernseys from the island of Guernsey and the Jerseys from Jersey? 🙂 Details like that make me smile.
So that’s pretty much it. Not a particularly heavy quote this week. Is anyone drinking Guernsey milk or raising Guernseys? Has anyone been able to taste both Jersey and Guernsey milk? Which do you like better? How do they compare? Any differences?
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Interesting!! We have had a Guernsey cow for a number of years and the milk is exquisite!! We lost her in a horrible blizzard, another story. Since our move to Texas last year I have sourced Jersey milk. It is very good, much better than raw Holstein, but not as good as Guernsey. I do so miss Harriet. She was not what one would call a nice cow, but she gave the BEST tasting milk about 5 gal a day. I made cheeses, butter, kefir, yogurt, ice cream, gave milk & cream to my grown kids & grandkids. So, in my book Guernsey hands down!! Now I need to get off my duff and find a Guernsey hefier.
I should add that we researched for quite a while before deciding on Guernsey or Brown Swiss as the breed we wanted.
Thank you for all the footwork you do!
Carolyn, oh, I like hearing that! We really want to have a cow, maybe sooner rather than later. I wish I could try both Guernsey and Jersey and Brown Swiss. How does the amount of cream compare? I want the one with the most cream. 🙂 That’s why we picked Nubian goats.
It is a little hard to say as we milked our Guensey ourselves and we did have an enormous amount of cream, vs now our farmer gives us milk by the gallon and I bring it home and skim off the cream and get about 3/4 of a quart. But, I do prefer the cream from the Guernsey vs Jersey. I had a nubian many years ago and really enjoyed her. Milking her was my favorite time of the day!
Okay, so I should have read Part 2 before commenting on Part 1. 🙂
Anyone interested in the old breeds should check out The Livestock Conservancy, which maintains a list of livestock breeds that are in various stages of danger, and Guernseys are on their Watch list. Not as critical as the Milking Devon or the Kerry, both in danger of extinction, but still it’s concerning.
I’m a history geek in farm country so I love learning about the old breeds that used to be popular back when so many more people raised their own food. So many breeds have been lost since the emphasis shifted from providing for oneself to being strictly commercial. It’s tragic. When I get back to living in the country I want to see about maybe trying to revive the Alderney breed–progenitor of both Guernsey and Jersey–which may be impossible but I think would be worth trying.
I would think the older Holstein lines would just produce better milk overall. Not sure about the beta-casein, but I can tell you the modern cows in the breed are larger and produce way more milk of lesser quality than their predecessors did. The emphasis on production itself (more, more, more milk!) has given us this result. My husband grew up with Holsteins.