Let’s try to understand this better and get rid of the surrounding myths.
A1 and A2 ?
Cow's milk is about 87 percent water and 13 percent solids—these solids are a combination of fat, carbohydrates in the form of lactose, minerals and protein. The major component of the milk proteins is casein; in turn about 30-35 percent of the casein (approximately two teaspoons in a litre of milk) is beta-casein, of which there are several varieties, determined by the genes of the cow. The most common of these variants are A1 and A2. Let’s term it as “A1 protein” and “A2 protein” for further understanding.
Milk of indigenous cows, buffaloes, goats, horses, elephants, humans all contain A2 protein.
A1 protein is found in the milk of Jersey, Holstein Friesian, Swiss Brown and a few more exotic cow breeds which are unfortunately wide spread in India due to their high milking capacity. This A1 protein has been a subject of intense scrutiny and now we have conclusive evidence that A1 protein can lead to Autism, Type 1 diabetes, schizophrenia, bloating and many more diseases.
A2 protein is found in the pure Indigenous (desi) breeds of cows Gir, Sahiwal, Tharparkar, Badri, Kankrej, Gangateeri. Different regions of India, have different native breeds of cows. Native cattle of Africa also contain A2 protein.
“Devil in the milk” by Dr Keith Woodford is a good read on this topic.
If you want to know more details on A1/A2, check out : http://www.hetha.in/why-a2-milk--.html
A2 Ghee ?
“Ghee” is a source of healthy fats, vitamins and other nutrients. However, Ghee does not have any protein in it. A1/A2 are associated with protein of the milk. Ghee does not have any A1/A2 protein as Ghee has no protein! Hence there is nothing called as “A2 Ghee” technically.
So whenever a Ghee is termed as “A2 Ghee”, it does not mean it has A2 protein/fat/vitamins/minerals in it. It means the source was A2 milk from which this Ghee is formed. But it does not clarify whether it was made from A2 milk of cows or buffaloes or goat, etc. Also, it needs to be known whether the Ghee was churned from curd or made from cream as widely prevalent.
So which Ghee should I buy ?
There is much more to Milk and Ghee than just A1 and A2.
Ayurveda recognises Ghee churned from curd made from indigenous (desi) cow milk as authentic ghee terming it as “Gau-Ghrita”. Indigenous cows give A2 milk. The “Gau-Ghrita” from indigenous cows find its mention in several recipes of Charaka Samhita, one of the oldest Ayurvedic text books.
The market is flooded with ghee brands with MRP ranging from INR 250 per litre to INR 6000 per litre.
For a layman, selecting a jar of unadulterated ghee can be quite daunting.
Most commercial brands make ghee from cream which is separated from milk. The leftover milk is then separately sold as toned/double toned milk with fancy names.
If you need the best ghee then it is not just the product at hand that you should see and decide. The whole ecosystem starting from the cows needs to be looked at.
The following is what we recommend to check before you buy your next bottle of Ghee!
- Made by churning curd. Curd should be of A2 milk only. Its best if A2 milk is from indigenous (desi) cows. Whole A2 Milk -> Curd -> Churn Curd -> Butter -> Heat the butter on a low flame —> Ghee. The churning process (Bilona) should be traditional - a wooden churner (mathani) rotating clockwise and anticlockwise at a low rpm.
- It takes anywhere between 30 to 50 litres of milk to produce a litre of ghee via the bilona method. An indigenous cow gives less milk as compared to its western counterpart. Hence anyone selling this ghee for less could be taking shortcuts. Watchout!
- The cows should have access to clean, green fodder, water and a reasonable space to move around. The quality of fodder certainly affects the quality of milk, curd and ghee. So it will be wise to identify where the ghee is made and how are the cows managed.
- It’s important these cows are not injected with hormones and that their calves get an equal share of the milk they produce. So verify that male calves are not sent to abattoirs or left on the road. Ethical milking practices should be followed.
- Do not run behind danedar ghee (granules in ghee). In certain Ghee manufacturing plants, Ghee is sent through cold treatment - sudden cooling from high to low temperatures. This is not the authentic process of making Ghee.
- Ghee made from the milk of HF/Jersey exotic cows can also be yellow in color and dandedar. Looks can be deceptive!
- Last but not the least, there are several Ghee flavours and artificial colours available in the market which boast of turning low quality Ghee more appealing. These artificial flavours give strong aroma, yellow color and texture to the Ghee. It is impossible to identify these flavours without a lab test.
Every batch of original Ghee can have different color, texture, aroma based on the fodder, quality of curd set, climate, etc. Do not judge a book by its cover!
Let no fancy names, artificial colours and ghee flavours prevent you from buying authentic “A2 Ghee”.
“Desi Cow A2 Cultured Bilona Ghee” is a better name for A2 Ghee. However, as explained, it is not “A2 Ghee” rather this Ghee is made from A2 milk.
This Ghee improves digestion, boosts immunity, treats inflammation, dry skin and has a higher smoke point. This Ghee melts at a temperature slightly lower than human body temperature and hence mobilises fat molecules and aids in fat loss. It does not make you fat!
Wishing everyone good health !