How do you know how to choose the best milk? Aren’t we supposed to drink pasteurized, homogenized and fortified skim milk? And nowadays there are so many choices when it comes to milk.
A grass-roots revolution is occurring in our nation with regard to the processing of milk. In order to understand the controversy, you have to understand the processes and terms involved.
What does ‘Pasteurized’ actually mean?
If you boil food, you kill all the bacteria and make the food sterile, but you often significantly affect the taste and nutritional value of the food.
When you pasteurize milk, you heat it to a high enough temperature to kill certain bacteria and to disable certain enzymes, minimizing the effects on taste as much as possible.
Milk can be pasteurized by heating it to 145º F for half an hour or 163º F for 15 seconds.
Many other products sold in the supermarket may be pasteurized too, including milk, fruit juices, almonds, cider, and beer.
What is ‘UHT’ milk?
Ultra high temperature (UHT) pasteurization completely sterilizes the product.
In UHT pasteurization, the temperature of the milk is raised to about 285º F for one or two seconds, sterilizing the milk.
UHT milk can have a shelf life of 6 to 9 months before it is opened. You may have seen boxes of milk on the aisles at the grocery store. UHT milk does not have to be refrigerated in the grocery store, but manufacturers typically do require grocers to refrigerate it because of the public resistance to non-refrigerated milk.
You wouldn’t drink that, would you? Check your milk’s label because you may already be drinking it. I know I am.
Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized Milk
The debate over raw milk or pasteurized is a hot topic right now.
The issue is politically and emotionally charged for many people in addition to being a public health issue. In the United States, the sale of raw milk is currently legal in 29 states.
Check out the chart on RealRawMilkFacts for your state to see if your state allows raw milk.
Recognize that it is legal everywhere to buy raw eggs, raw meat, raw fish, and raw poultry, just not raw milk. So we are free to buy and eat those products raw, but not raw milk.
I don’t get it.
The main argument for the pasteurization of milk is that it protects the public from foodborne illness. It’s also believed to extend the shelf life of milk while maintaining its flavor, texture, and nutritional content.
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration take the position that pasteurization should be required for all milk products due to the potential for causing foodborne illness.
The Weston A. Price Foundation is probably the biggest proponent of raw milk. They make a very compelling argument for raw milk.
“[Weston A. Price] claims that enzymes and other milk components that naturally protect the milk from spoilage and help humans digest milk are deactivated by pasteurization.
The group presents research that shows that heat treatment causes significant changes in the nutritional content of milk — especially vitamin C, some B vitamins and several minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.
It also objects to conventional dairy practices and believes that producers of raw milk are much better caretakers of the cows, the land and the milk. The organization also emphasizes the fact that pasteurizing milk does not prevent outbreaks of disease from pasteurized milk,” reports Carol White from “How Pasteurization Works” at Science.HowStuffWorks.com.
What does ‘Homogenized’ mean?
If you take a gallon of fresh milk straight from a cow and allow it to sit in the refrigerator, all of the cream will completely separate, leaving you with skim milk and a layer of cream.
Right out of the cow, milk is around 3.5% fat. Skim milk isn’t technically fat-free, since it can contain up to 0.2 percent milk fat, but skim milk is as close as you’re going to get to nonfat. To make “2% milk,” you need the cream to stay suspended in the milk.
Homogenization is the process of breaking up the fat in cream to a small enough size that it remains suspended evenly in the milk rather than floating to the surface.
You can buy non-homogenized milk where the cream separates from the milk in the container. You would just have to shake it before serving it. That would take some getting used to. Kinda like the peanut butter you have to stir before using.
What does ‘Fortified’ mean?
Most commercially-sold milk is also fortified with vitamins A and D, in an effort to ensure adequate intake of these nutrients in the general population. Now we see milk that is also fortified with Omega-3 essential fatty acids.
What About Organic Milk?
Organic cows must be kept free from antibiotics as you would expect. But when we think of organic milk, we imagine cows grazing on grass in a pasture.
Not necessarily so.
The USDA requires that cows are given just 120 days per year of access to organic pastures and only 30% of their diet must be grass in order to qualify for organic labeling. So a majority of their feed can be grain.
Grass vs. grain fed cows produce milk that is significantly higher in nutrients including Omega-3s and Vitamin E, A and beta carotene. Check out your preferred brand of milk to see what their dairy farms require.
Most commercially available organic milk (80%) is ultra-high pasteurized, homogenized and even fortified.
I had no idea this was the case. You would think that organic milk should be less processed, not more.
Finding organic milk that is not UHT pasteurized, if that is what you choose, can be more difficult.
Now you know what those terms mean on your carton of milk. You can make a more informed decision about what type of milk to choose.
Submitted by Joli Tripp @ www.simplechangeshealthyresults.com
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