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Is buffalo milk really better than milk?

Posted on: August 9, 2019, by Victoria

Recently, the advertising of buffalo milk is everywhere. The buffalo milk is depicted as "the nearest perfect milk in the world", which is the best gift from God to mankind. The publicity of the buffalo milk in the advertisement is as follows:

1. The nutritional value is several times higher than that of the milk;

2. It’s superior to breast milk, and can promote the development of the brain of the infant;

3. Have the extraordinary efficacy of losing weight, inhibiting tumor, caring skin, and resisting aging.

Is it so magical about buffalo milk?

buffalo milk
buffalo milk

Buffalo milk always exists.

Buffalo milk, as its name implies, is the milk produced by buffaloes. And the ordinary milk is the milk produced by cattle. Cattle and buffaloes are close relatives. In taxonomy, they both belong to Bovine, except that the cattle belong to the genus Bos and the buffaloes belong to the genus Buffalo. Therefore, both buffalo and cattle milk can be called "milk". A cow specially raised for milk production is what we usually call a cow. To obtain a greater milk yield, some good breeds of cows, such as the well-known black and white cows (Holstein-Friesian), have been specially cultivated. For the convenience of the description, the milk mentioned below is the milk produced by cattle.

Buffalo milk is nothing new. According to 2009 data, milk accounted for 83% of the total milk production of the world, dominated by an absolute advantage; buffalo milk accounted for 12%, ranking second. Buffalo milk is mainly produced in Asia, more than 80% of which is produced in India and Pakistan. The milk yield of buffaloes is much lower than that of cows. The milk yield of a buffalo is generally about 2000 kg per year, while even low-yielding black and white cows can produce 3000 kg of milk a year, and the ones with high yield can usually reach more than 6000 kg.

How high is the nutritional value of buffalo milk?

To facilitate the comparison, the main components of breast milk, milk, and buffalo milk are listed as follows (the specific values vary slightly with variety, season, feeding conditions, etc.). It can be seen from the table that the total dry matter content of buffalo milk is indeed higher than that of milk, which is about 50% higher than that of milk. Specifically, the protein content and fat content of water milk are higher than that of milk. The protein content and fat content of buffalo milk are higher than that of milk, especially the fat content is twice as much as the fat content in milk. But the lactose content of the two is nearly the same. The content of calcium and phosphorus in buffalo milk is higher than that in milk, but its total mineral content is about the same, indicating that the content of other minerals in buffalo milk is lower than that in milk.

 Breast MilkMilkBuffalo MilkUnit
The total dry matter120125180g/L
Protein15.53543g/L
Whey Protein8.52836g/L
Lactalbumin777g/L
 Carbohydrate754545g/L
Lactose654545g/L
Oligosaccharide10 trace traceg/L
Fat353672g/L
Mineral substance277g/L
Calcium30012502030mg/L
 Phosphorus20010001290Mg/L

Comparison of nutrients between buffalo milk and milk.

buffalo milk
buffalo milk

On the surface, the nutritional value of buffalo milk is indeed better than that of milk, but it is not as high as several or even dozens of times as the advertising. From total dry matter content, 1 kg of buffalo milk is about 1.5 kg of milk. However, there is no free milk in the world--the higher dry matter content of buffalo milk also determines its higher selling price.

Take domestic high-end buffalo milk and high-end milk as an example, the price of the 250 ml of buffalo milk is about 8 yuan, and the same volume of the milk is about 5 yuan. Consumers buy milk mainly for the nutrients contained in the dry matter, not for the more than 80% of the water. So it's possible to figure out that, assuming that the money for buying milk is all used to buy dry substance, the amount of money spent on the dry matter of buffalo milk and milk per gram of water is about:

Buffalo milk:8 yuan/ (250 ml*180 grams per liter) = 0.1777.. RMB (about 0.18 Yuan)

Milk:5 yuan/ (250 ml*125 grams per liter) = 0.16 yuan

The difference between 0.18 yuan and 0.16 yuan is not significant. That is to say, consumers only spend the same money to buy two nutrients with different sources and virtually the same substance.

It's nonsense to say that buffalo milk is better than breast milk.

Mammals secrete milk to feed their offspring. The milk components of different mammals naturally correspond to the different needs of their offspring. Breast milk is the most suitable food for human babies, which has been the consensus of the world, and its alternative, infant formula, has been trying to mimic the ingredients of breast milk.

The high content of protein and fat in buffalo milk does not mean that its nutritional value is better than that of breast milk.

First, proteins in milk can be divided into casein and whey protein. The proportion of whey protein that is easy to be digested and absorbed in breast milk is much higher than that in milk and buffalo milk, while the proportion of casein which is more difficult to be digested is very low.

Secondly, the fat particles in the buffalo milk are larger (larger than those in breast milk and milk). The larger fat particles are not only difficult to be digested in the human body but also more difficult to be homogenized in industrial production.

Third, whether it is buffalo milk or milk, its lactose content is much lower than breast milk. The galactose obtained from lactose hydrolysis is very important for the development of the infant's brain. Besides, lactose, as a probiotic, is also beneficial to the development of calcium absorption and intestinal beneficial flora in infants. Therefore, it is very unscientific and irresponsible to say that water milk is superior to breast milk. If you insist that buffalo milk is better than breast milk, it can only be for buffalo babies.

There is no extraordinary efficacy of buffalo milk.

Buffalo milk has nearly twice as much fat as milk, so I can't figure out why it can help lose weight. Is it because its fat particles are large and difficult to be digested? In this regard, I can only say, "as for whether you believe it or not, I don't believe it anyway.” As for the inhibition of tumor, beauty maintenance, anti-aging, and other extraordinary efficacy, no relevant experimental basis was found. Moreover, buffaloes and cattle, after all, are close relatives, if buffalo has this extraordinary efficacy, then ordinary milk should also have such an effect.

buffalo milk
buffalo milk

What is the use of buffalo milk?

The most well-known use of buffalo milk is to make mozzarella cheese and double-skin milk.

The mozzarella cheeses native to Italy is mainly used to make a pizza. The traditional practice of the Italian mozzarella cheese is to use buffalo milk, but many dairy companies now use milk. Although the high casein and fat content of the milk is well suited for cheese, the lower milk production in the buffalo still limits the development of the buffalo milk in Europe.

The famous snack double- skin milk in Guangdong is also made with buffalo milk. The main reason why buffalo milk is suitable for making double- skin milk is its high fat and protein content, while the main component of milk- skin is fat and partial protein. However, for the same reason of production, most of the country's double-skin milk has been converted to milk, except some traditional stores of double -skin milk in Guangdong.

All in all, buffalo milk does have a slightly higher nutritional content than milk, but it also sells for a high price. In other words, its price-performance is actually about the same as milk, and may even be slightly lower than milk. There is no conclusive scientific reason for the extraordinary efficacy such as "superior to breast milk" and even "beauty maintenance, weight loss, and anti-aging", and it is not advisable to deceive consumers by using false and exaggerated advertisements.

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