You’ll probably recognise Dr Hilary Jones from the sofa of ITV’s Daybreak and Steve Wright’s Radio 2 programme.
As an NHS GP, medical presenter and spokesperson for a2 Milk, we wanted his insight on the importance of milk, lactose intolerance, and the options for those of us who have problems digesting milk. Here’s what he had to say when we caught up with him.
A lot of people avoid milk and dairy because they suspect it’s causing them digestive issues. Why is that?
Not all cows milk is the same. There are two different types of protein in milk and cows either produce A1 or A2. Not surprisingly they are known as A1 cows and A2 cows. The A1 protein digests differently to A2 protein and has been linked to discomfort after drinking milk. This is why some people feel they have issues or an intolerance to milk. a2 Milk is cows’ milk that is naturally rich in the A2 protein and contains none of the A1 protein. Put simply, because a2 Milk does not contain the A1 protein, some people may find a2 Milk easier to digest.
Is that discomfort lactose intolerance?
Not necessarily. You’d be amazed at the number of people who believe they’re lactose intolerant but haven’t been to the doctor to have it diagnosed.
20% of people understandably think they have a problem and consider themselves either dairy or lactose intolerant, due to bloating, cramps and other digestive problems. Their natural reaction is to reduce their milk consumption or stop consuming dairy altogether. a2 Milk conducted a study which revealed that more than half of the people who consider themselves dairy intolerant haven’t actually been diagnosed at all, meaning that at least 7.2 million people could potentially return to dairy and the health benefits it provides.
7.2 million people who’ve been avoiding milk could come back to it? That’s a lot of people!
All I would say is that if you haven’t been medically diagnosed, and feel that you have an issue digesting cows’ milk, try a2 Milk containing only the A2 protein. You could be one of the many people who have been avoiding dairy unnecessarily. There are lots of reviews from Ocado shoppers who have returned to milk with a2 and are loving it.
Why is milk so important in our diet?
Milk is the nearest thing you can get to complete nutrition in a glass. It’s a favourite with cereals in the morning and is a great sustainer and concentration booster for children at school. It’s much healthier than any fizzy drink and is a daily essential for most athletes in training. Plus, it’s an excellent post-exercise recovery food as it has a balance of protein, carbohydrates and water (and micronutrients).
In addition to calcium, milk contains potassium, iodine, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin A, riboflavin and niacin – all of which contribute to overall health. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure, while vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy red blood cells and nerve tissue. Vitamins keep your immune system at its best, as well as contribute to good vision and skin.
What’s more, non-organic milk is the best dietary source of iodine which is essential for brain development, and a recent UK study found that women of child-bearing age are deficient in this nutrient.
Does a2 milk come from British farms?
Yes, it’s produced on British farms which have carefully selected dairy cows that naturally produce milk which is rich in the A2 form of beta-casein so contains no A1. a2 Milk has approximately 3,000 A2 cows which are mainly Friesian and Holstein with one herd of Guernsey cows.
You must get asked some interesting questions when you are doing the Steve Wright radio show – anything memorable?
Steve and his team in the studio, his “posse”, as he calls them, asked me why people who donate a kidney live longer than the average person. They’d read it somewhere and were puzzled at the apparent magical effect of having one of your major organs removed.
Initially I was stumped but then it hit me. The vetting process for donors is extremely stringent. People who donate are much healthier than the general population to begin with. Since there are no ill effects from living with a single kidney after donating, it’s quite logical they live longer than the average person.
What’s usually in your shopping basket at ocado.com each week?
I will always put plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and staples like bread (I love a lovely soft cottage loaf) pasta and cereals. I buy a2 Milk, fish such as cod or salmon and a selection of cheeses. There will be a few snacks like crisps and cereal bars; chances are there will be a nice bottle of wine in there too!
Thanks Doctor! You can see the a2 Milk range, plus great customer reviews, by following this link: http://bit.ly/1hdifbb ▶
Naomi, PR and Social Media Executive
a2 Milk is not suitable for anyone medically diagnosed with a cows’ milk allergy, galactosaemia or as lactose intolerant.