Wednesday, 23rd May 2018
23 May 2018
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Cow’s milk vs buffalo’s milk

Cow’s milk vs buffalo’s milk

Cow milk differs from buffalo milk in richness and composition. Buffalo milk has relatively lower cholesterol but then again more calories and fat in comparison to cow’s milk. Buffalo milk is prominently utilized in South Asian countries considering India, China and Pakistan being the largest producers.

There are many negatives and positives of both the types of milk. When we talk about cow’s milk it is understood to be very lighter and buffalo milk is considered to be heavy in sense of digestion.

The share of buffalo milk production to the world dairying by Asia is 96.79 per cent. India is the top and recognized player in buffalo milk production followed by Pakistan, China, and Italy. It is proudly said that these buffaloes form the backbone of dairying in India and the term “milk” in India refers to that from either cow or buffalo or a combination of these two but the PFA act (1955) says that milk sold without any qualification shall be considered as buffalo milk.

Comparison chart

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Buffalo milk
Properties 100% more fat content than cow’s milk; can be preserved for longer Lower in fat than buffalo milk; preserved for less time.
Nutrition Buffalo milk is extremely rich in calcium and is a good source of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. Cow’s milk is rich in a variety of minerals, vitamins, and proteins, It is also an excellent source of calcium.
Health benefits Less cholesterol, more fat, more calories. It is good for healthy bones, dental health, cardiovascular health, and weight gain. More cholesterol, less fat, fewer calories. It is beneficial for healthy bones, dental health, reducing obesity in children, protection from thyroid diseases, and cardiovascular health.
Uses Produces thick and creamy dairy products suitable for the manufacture of traditional milk products like yogurt and cottage cheese (called “paneer” in South Asia), as well as indigenous milk products like khoa and ghee. Dairy products: curds, sweets, cheese – but less thick and creamy
Top consumers and producers Buffalo milk is popular in South Asia (India, Pakistan) and Italy. Cow’s milk is consumed all over the world, including regions that also consume buffalo milk.

Differences between cow’s milk and buffalo’s milk

Fat content

The first line of difference is the fat present in both the milk. It makes the consistency of milk differ. Cow’s milk has low % of fat in it hence it is of the thin consistency and thereby called to be lighter by a layman.

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Buffalo’s milk is high in fat % and is thicker than cow’s milk and hence called heavy. As we know that a fatty food takes time for digestion and absorption and it stays in the stomach for a longer time giving us a feeling of a heavy stomach or stomach fullness similarly buffalo milk has high fat and hence it takes time for digestion.

So cow’s milk is recommended over buffalo’s milk especially for infants and elders.

The emulsifying capacity of buffalo milk fat is better due to a higher proportion (50%) of butyric acid containing triglycerides compared to only 37% in cow milk. This is the reason for higher yield of butter and ghee prepared from buffalo milk. The higher proportion (9-12%) of high melting triglycerides gives a bigger grain size (fat) which in turn imparts a grainy texture to ghee obtained from buffalo milk. Apart from this, buffalo milk ghee is less prone to hydrological rancidity than cow milk ghee.

Due to high peroxidase activity, buffalo milk can be preserved naturally for a longer period. Buffalo milk contains more calcium, better calcium: phosphorous ratio and less sodium and potassium than in cow milk which makes it a better nutritional supplement for infants

Protein content

Animal bioassays have shown the Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) value of buffalo milk proteins to be 2.74 and that of cow milk as 2.49. It will be seen that buffalo milk has about 11.42 percent higher protein than cow milk.

Buffalo milk is rich in proteins when compared to cow milk, and the difference is about 10–11%. It is more heat resistant. The proteins present in buffalo milk make it difficult for infants and older people to digest it. Based solely on the protein content, the obvious choice would be cow’s milk.

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Buffalo milk protein is more heat resistant. Same like fats even proteins are difficult to digest for infants and older population. So even here the choice of milk is cow’s milk.

Proteins of buffalo milk, particularly the whey proteins, are more resistant to heat denaturation as compared to the cow milk proteins. Dried milk products prepared from buffalo milk exhibit higher levels of undenatured proteins when processed under similar conditions. In general, the reconstitution behavior of dried milk products made from buffalo milk is indistinguishable from those made from cow milk. However, dried buffalo milk may be preferred over dried cow milk for those technological applications where higher levels of undenatured whey proteins would be more desirable.

Calorie content

Higher total solids in buffalo milk also provide for more calories than cow milk (100 calories are derived from 100 g of buffalo milk while 70 calories from 100 g of cow milk). A Higher proportion of beta casein in buffalo milk makes it easier to prepare humanized milk.

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It is obvious that buffalo milk has more fat and proteins so it will have more calories. So people who are on calorie restricted diet are again here advised to have cow’s milk to cut down the calorie consumption in the diet.

Water content

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Cow milk is also called watery milk since it contains fewer milk solids as compared to buffalo milk. 90% of cow’s milk is water. Thus, it helps in hydrating the body.

Vitamins

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Buffalo metabolizes all the carotene into vitamin A, which is passed on to milk as such. Buffalo’s milk contains more calcium than cow’s milk, but since the potassium and sodium levels are lesser in cow’s milk, it is considered as a better natural supplement for infants.

Health benefits

Higher total solids in buffalo milk also provide for more calories than cow milk (100 calories are derived from 100g of buffalo milk while 70 calories from 100g of cow milk). Buffalo milk contains less cholesterol (total cholesterol 275 mg and free cholesterol 212mg per 100 g of fat) compared to cow milk (total cholesterol 330 mg and free cholesterol 280mg per 100 g of fat) Buffalo’s milk is good for healthy bones, dental health, cardiovascular health and weight gain.

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Cow’s milk is beneficial for healthy bones, dental health, obesity reduction in children, protection from thyroid problems, and a healthier heart.

Similarities and differences

Cow milk and buffalo milk – similarities: 

  • Taste – Both cow milk and buffalo milk are sweet in taste,  and have a cooling effect.
  • Cow milk and buffalo milk both these two kinds of milk act as a natural aphrodisiac.
  • Both are high in nutrition and improve strength.
  • Both the milk calm Pitta and help to relieve burning sensation.

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Cow milk vs buffalo milk – differences
  • Buffalo milk is slightly heavier to digest when compared to Cow milk.
  • The capacity to induce natural sleep is more in buffalo milk than cow milk.
  • The protein content in buffalo milk is more compared to cow milk.
  • Fat content is more in buffalo milk than in cow milk.
  • Ghee prepared from buffalo milk increases Kapha, while Cow milk – ghee calms Pitta and increases digestion power.
  • Cow milk is more used in Ayurveda than buffalo milk.

Uses

Buffalo milk produces thick and creamy dairy products suitable for the manufacture of traditional (indigenous Indian) milk products like khoa, dahi, paneer, kheer, payasam, malai, kulfi, and ghee.

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Cow’s milk, being less creamy and thick, is better used for sweets that are chenna based products like sandesh, rasagolla, chumchum and rasamalai. Buffalo milk is used in some Western countries for the production of buffalo mozzarella cheese.

Commercial viability

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Buffalo milk is commercially more viable than cow milk for the manufacture of fat-based and SNF-based milk products, such as butter, ghee, and milk powders because of its lower water content and higher fat content. Most significantly, the lower cholesterol value should make it more popular in the health conscious market. By the virtue of greater opacity of casein miscelles, coupled with higher levels of colloidal proteins, calcium and phosphorus, buffalo milk is more densely white and has superior whitening properties as compared to cow milk.  Therefore, unlike the cow milk (which is pale-creams yellow in color) and cow milk fat (which is golden yellow in color), buffalo milk is distinctively whiter. UHT-processed buffalo milk and cream are intrinsically whiter and more viscous than their cow milk counterparts, because of conversion of greater levels of calcium and phosphorus into the colloidal form. Buffalo milk is, therefore, more aptly suitable for the production of tea and coffee whiteners than cow milk.Higher innate levels of proteins and fat render buffalo milk a more economical alternative to cow milk for the production of casein, caseinates, whey protein concentrates and a wide range of the fat-rich dairy products.

The presence of higher levels of various bioprotective factors, such as immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, lysozyme, lactoperoxidase as well as bifidogenic factors, render buffalo milk more suitable than cow milk for the preparation of a wide range of special dietary and health foods.

Composition of cow’s milk and buffalo’s milk

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Constituent Cow milk Buffalo milk
In percentage
Water 86.50 83.18
Fat 4.39 6.71
Protein 3.30 4.52
Lactose 4.44 4.45
Total solids 13.50 16.82
Solids Not Fat 9.11 10.11
Ash 0.73 0.80
Calcium 0.12 0.18
Magnesium 0.01 0.02
Sodium 0.05 0.04
Potassium 0.15 0.11
Phosphorous 0.10 0.10
Citrate 0.18 0.18
Chloride 0.10 0.07
Ca : P Ratio 1.20 1.80

Milk is hence a very healthy food unless it’s not adulterated. It is very important to check the quality of milk before purchasing. Adulteration is done with water, starch etc. So everyone please purchase milk in packaged form or from a reputed dairy.

 

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