Goat Milk or Cow’s Milk? Neither Is Best!

Friday Sep 11 | BY |
| Comments (8)

After my last article on dairy “Raw or Not, Dairy Isn’t Healthy,” I’ve been accused of not taking into consideration the differences between cow’s milk and goat’s milk.

One reader summarized a commonly held view:

Goat Milk is very close to human milk and the fat molecules are smaller and easier to digest, in fact many people and children who can not drink cows milk can drink goat milk, and the other kind of milk is `Sheep Milk` which is even better than goat milk.

In order to avoid being misunderstood, I’d like to summarize my point of view before moving on to goat’s milk.

  • I’m not saying that milk is not nutritious. I’m saying it’s in fact too nutritious for human adults: too many calories, total fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar that’s indigestible to many.
  • One problem with whole milk is that it contains a lot of saturated fat. If your LDL cholesterol is under 80, then you probably don’t have to worry about this. But above 80, you should do everything you can to keep your saturated fat and cholesterol consumption at minimal levels. LDL cholesterol under 80 have been shown to be extremely protective of heart disease. Remember: heart disease takes decades to develop! You may feel perfectly fine right now. We’re talking about the future of your health. See more here.
  • Milk contains too much casein — a protein that increases levels of IGF-1 (Human-like growth factor) in the body, driving cancer growth.

All of my points apply to any type of animal milk: goat, sheep — whatever you fancy! Even human milk should not be consumed by adults — but you already knew that!

Is Goat Milk the Exception to the Rule?

Goat Milk might very well be a better alternative to cow’s milk. It’s very likely easier to digest. But to say that it’s strikingly different from cow’s milk and similar to human milk is stretching the truth a little thin.


All types of milk (including human milk) are rich in fat, because babies need concentrated calories to grow quickly. Cow’s milk appears to be even fattier than cow’s milk, containing 10 grams of fat per cup and a shocking 8 grams of saturated fats. The similarity with human milk stop there. Otherwise, human milk is very different from other types of animal milk.

Human milk only contains 3 grams of protein per cup, versus 9 and 8 grams for goat’s and cow’s milk, respectively. Why is that? Human babies take years to develop into mature adults. Other animals do it in a matter of months. We simply need less protein than we think because protein stimulates growth. Unless you’re competing to become a body-builder, you likely don’t need all that extra protein, which is a burden on your body. If babies don’t need it, why would a fully-grown adult do? This simple argument has never been answered by milk enthusiasts.

Animal milk is packed with sodium: 122 mg per cup in goats milk, 98 mg per cup in cow’s milk. Human milk only contains 42 mg per cup.

Human milk is sweet! 17 grams of sugar per cup, versus 13 grams in cow’s milk. Goat milk contains less: 11 grams per cup. Babies need more sugar to fuel that big brain of ours.

Human milk contains little calcium compared with animal milk: three times less, in fact. Goat’s milk contains even more calcium than cow’s milk. If babies don’t need that much calcium when they are growing, why would you?

Looking at the data, goat’s milk seems actually to be even less similar to human milk than cow’s milk. It contains more of almost everything: more sodium, calcium, fat, protein and total calories.

The only difference is in sugar amount (lactose): goat milk contains a little less, but not that much (11 g. vs 13 g. per cup). It could be that goat’s milk is easier to digest for other reasons.

Goat’s milk may very well cause fewer allergies and be easier to digest and process, but it’s still heavy-duty nutrition for human adults! It’s packed with calories and fat. You could use non-fat, but in some ways that’s even worse because it increases the protein content.

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


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  1. Thank you for your insightful article, but I think it is worth noting that a similar argument could be made about pretty much any food. That is, you are essentially saying that goat milk, on its own, is not a perfect food for humans – it has too much of certain things, and not enough of other things. Is there any food for which that is NOT true? Certainly one can argue that an avocado, for instance, has too much fat and not enough carbs. Or that an apple is almost all carbs with insufficient fat and protein. It is for this reason that, beyond infancy (when human mother’s milk provides ideal nutrition), human beings eat a variety of foods, not just one. Goat milk can certainly be a part of that mix, and as long as one doesn’t make it too large a percentage of the diet, it seems to me that the arguments you are presenting are not really an issue….

    • Hi Martin! Good point. However I’m not saying that on its own those foods should be avoided. I’m saying they shouldn’t be added to any diet. One could restrict it to a point and avoid the health problems, but better yet to focus on foods that are healthy! There is no limit to the consumption of fruits, vegetables. Avocado may not be an ideal food but yet, it’s nowhere close to cheese or dairy products in its composition.

    • Vegan duende says:

      Excellent summary. Everyone who is in denial about milk needs to give themselves the cold and hard truth. Don’t be lazy with the truth and everytime you drink milk your raping a cow and killing it’s baby just so u can be a bunch of self intitled arsehole. Whaaaawhaaa I want to ruin the planet and everything that lives in it so I can tell myself I get some benefits for my nutrition. The delusion of these mindless drones is embarrassing.

  2. Lisa says:

    First….I HIGHLY recommend you read Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD . And I quote him: “There is no evidence that too much animal fat and cholesterol in the diet promotes atherosclerosis or heart attacks” http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm#a

    Second…I can’t buy into your milk articles. At all.

  3. Frederic,
    It has been interesting the comments on milk. Having gone to a cancer detox center that uses muscle response testing there apparently is one form of dairy that the body tests favorable for and that is yogurt. All other forms of dairy does not test well. This information comes from Dr Dave Frahm who is very knowledgeable in nutrition and treating diseases holistically. He basically lets the body tell him what is good and what is not through muscle response testing. His statement is no dairy except yogurt and comes from muscles response testing thousands of people. I make yogurt from raw milk and a room temperature culture but even then I use limited quantities like 4 OZ/day. Just another perspective that you may not agree with but that is OK.

  4. Linda says:

    This is an excellent informative article, something I can now use to speak more about the dangers of milk consumption to others. Thank you

  5. Kay Smith says:

    I don’t consume dairy — BUT I do make my own kefir — milk and water kefir. To keep the milk kefir grains alive, they need the sugar in a “dairy milk” – so I feed them a couple times a week with goat milk – organic. Then I make the kefir from coconut milk, – which the kefir does not feed on, but it will ferment it a few times before needing a dairy milk to feed on. Think that is ok? or not? Otherwise, I’m diary free. Thanks, Kay

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