Carbohydrates in Goat Milk
Carbohydrates ("carbs") have become a well-recognized nutrient class in recent years, thanks largely to the abundance of popular low-carb diet plans. This nutrient group includes foods typically recognized as sugars and starches, and supplies the main sources of energy for the body.
General nutritional guidelines usually recommend that about half, or slightly more, of a person's calorie intake for a day consists of carbohydrate-rich food sources such as products made from grains, like bread, pasta, and cereals, or starchy vegetables, such as beans and potatoes.
Unfortunately, the abundance of overprocessed, nutrient-lacking "junk food" in Western societies serves as a major source of excess calories, causing most people to think negatively of carbs in general.
The process of digestion converts these molecules into glucose, a simple sugar, which is ready to be used as an immediate energy source by body cells. Energy that is not used immediately is stored for future use.
However, carbs from natural, unprocessed sources, such as whole grains, fruit and milk, provide nutrient-rich fuel for the body, and shouldn't be associated with their derelict "junk-food" cousins.
Carbs are classified as either simple or complex, a reference to the molecular structure. The term simple denotes carbs that are composed of only one or two molecules, while complex refers to longer molecular chains.
An overabundance of carbs can easily lead to weight gain, as a small amount of carb-rich food sources provides a sizeable supply of energy that the body can readily use.
You may have read or heard how many professional athletes utilize a high-protein diet during training, and then "load up on pasta" right before a competition. That pasta is a high-carb food that will supply an abundance of energy almost immediately.
That's good if you're an athlete--but, I don't recommend it if you have a desk job, because when the energy from those carbs goes unused, it is stored in the body...and you know what that means!
Carbs provide an immediate source of energy.
Carbs in milk are in the form of lactose, also known as milk sugar. Lactose is the ingredient responsible for the slightly sweet taste of milk, and is made up of two sugars, known as glucose and galactose, making it a simple carbohydrate.
The exact difference in lactose content between goat milk and cow's milk is hard to quantify because of the number of different analysis techniques used; however, it's widely accepted that goat milk is lower in lactose than cow's milk. The USDA nutrient tables list goat milk as having 10.86 g/cup and cow's milk with 12.83 g/cup.
That translates to about 15% less lactose for goat milk.
This lower lactose level has the most profound implications for individuals who are lactose intolerant. You can read more about this issue in the article, Lactose Intolerance and Goat Milk.
Lactose, or milk sugar, in goat milk, provides a ready supply of energy, and combined with the other nutrients in milk, makes goat milk a wise choice for a quick, energizing drink!
Nutritional studies are ongoing, so check back here for any new information related to lactose in goat milk!
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