Goat Milk Ingredients

Glass of milk with yellow flower



Goat milk ingredients may be the last thing you think of when you reach for a tall, sweet glass of cold goat milk, or as you're spreading a creamy, soft goat cheese on your cracker.

However, it's those ingredients that give goat milk its unique texture, flavor, and health qualities. So, let's take a look at these overlooked components that work together to make goat milk a nutritional powerhouse.

Ingredient Overview

In overview, roughly 87% of milk ingredients is water, with the remaining 13% broken down as
  • lipids (fats) -- approximately 4%
  • proteins -- approximately 3.4%
  • carbohydrates (lactose) -- approximately 4.8%, and
  • minerals -- approximately 0.8%

You can read how the exact composition of milk is influenced by a variety of factors in the article, Goat Milk Composition.

Milk salts, consisting of sodium, calcium and magnesium, in various forms as chlorides, phosphates and citrates, play a minor role in the composition of milk, accounting for less than 1% of the total. Although minor in terms of amount, the salts are an important influence on functional properties of milk, such as coagulation rate.

Vitamins contribute the final factor in the ingredients of milk, almost negligible in terms of actual composition percentage, but vital in terms of health contributions.

Total fat content is higher in goat milk than cow's milk, with roughly 10 g/cup in goat milk versus 8 g/cup in cow's milk. The most significant difference from a health standpoint is not in the amount of fat, however, but in the ratio of fatty acids known as medium chain triglycerides (MCT).

Protein in milk is a known health benefit of drinking milk, and is also found to be higher in goat milk than cow's milk, with comparison values of 8.69 g/cup to 7.86 g/cup. Again, however, the numbers are not the most important aspect to the health benefits of goat milk protein; rather, the unique structures of the proteins are the key attribute.

Goat milk has fewer carbohydrates than cow's milk, at 10.86 g/cup versus 11.03 g/cup. This difference in milk composition is almost exclusively in the levels of lactose.

Goat milk is rich in both vitamins and minerals, with the levels of many exceeding that of cow's milk. The vitamins and minerals, though minor in terms of percentage of the composition of milk, are major players in the area of health benefits.

Summary of the Special Characteristics of Goats Milk Ingredients

The information below is a summary of the importance of the ingredients in goat milk. For more details, visit Milk Nutrition Facts and Information for Goat Milk and check out the detailed articles for each of the individual ingredients in milk.

Proteins and lipids are the two most significant categories in terms of providing important health benefits related to goat milk nutrition.

For protein, the following factors are considered significant:

  • higher levels of the essential amino acids
  • higher nutritional value due to the structural differences of proteins in goat milk versus cow's milk
  • potential for less allergenic reactions
  • much lower levels, and potential lack of, the alpha-s1-casein protein, promoting digestibility and less allergenic reaction
  • absence of the protein agglutinin, which causes fat globules to stick together

For lipids, the benefits are primarily derived from:

  • smaller fat globule size, promoting digestibility
  • fat globules remain homogenized, due to lack of agglutinin
  • significant proportion of medium chain triglycerides (MCT), which are recognized as highly beneficial to a range of health issues

Regarding vitamins, goat milk is considered a better source than cow's milk for vitamin A, niacin and B6. Commercial goat milk ingredients typically contain added vitamin D, just as cow's milk does.

The minerals in the composition of goat milk are seen as significant in the areas of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese and selenium. Levels of other minerals are comparable to those in cow's milk. Minerals in goat milk seem to have better bioavailability, however.

As you can see by now, goat milk ingredients contribute to the special qualities that make it a super food in terms of health benefits and nutritional properties.

Got goat milk? You should!


Sources

International Livestock Research Institute, "Milk Chemistry--An Introduction."

USDA Goat Milk Table of Nutrients

USDA Cow's Milk Table of Nutrients


Nutritional studies are ongoing, so check back here for any new information related to goat milk ingredients!

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