A recent article on Time, Inc.’s RealSimple online network claimed to be about the “Health Benefits of Milk.” The article included 6 types of “milk.” Half of the 6 types weren’t even what most of us think of as milk at all–almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk. The remaining three types were labeled as “traditional” milk, organic milk, and raw milk. The types of milk were listed in this order: “traditional,” organic, soy, rice, almond, and raw. Up front, I take exception to the first type–pasteurized, homogenized–being labeled as “traditional” milk, because, in the long history of humans using dairy products from many mammals, RealSimple’s “traditional” milk is actually a very recent, modern type of milk. For thousands of years people have been drinking milk and cultured milk and eating cheese and butter, but they weren’t using the type of milk RealSimple is labeling as “traditional.” RealSimple’s “traditional” milk has been in existence for less than a hundred years and was created primarily for increasing profit to the dairy processors rather than the consumer’s safety. For how and when pasteurized milk became the norm, see my post “Milk – Why Homogenized, Pasteurized? Follow the Profit!“ The true traditional milk (tradition is defined as “handing down from generation to generation” or “specific custom or practice of long standing”) is the one RealSimple labels as raw milk. Raw milk is a much, much older and long standing tradition than pasteurized, homogenized milk. The 2nd type of milk is organic, which, like “traditional” milk, is pasteurized and homogenized but comes from cows which are fed organic grains or allowed to feed on grass and have not been given synthetic hormones or treated with antibiotics.
As to the health benefit claims for “traditional” milk, here’s what RealSimple says: “It’s an excellent source of protein, calcium, and vitamins D and K. Skim is the healthiest option.” For information about the beneficial ingredients in milk destroyed by pasteurization and homogenization see the list at the end of this post. To know more about the claim that skim milk is healthiest, see my post Everyone knows low-fat diets promote weight loss! Really? Also look at Dr. Mercola’s website for lots more information about the value of healthy fats, including dairy.
RealSimple does allow that advocates of raw milk believe that “pasteurization destroys potentially beneficial bacteria, proteins and enzymes,” but then immediately states that “health experts say that none of these supposed benefits outweigh the possible negatives.” The article quotes J. Bruce German, Ph.D., the director of the Foods for Health Institute at the University of California, Davis, “Drinking raw milk puts you at risk of serious food-borne illness or even death from infection.” The article further states that “According to the Centers for Disease Control, raw dairy products caused 82 percent of milk-borne illnesses between 1973 and 2008.” Although this claim is found on the CDC raw milk website, the CDC has not provided any backup information to substantiate the claim, and numerous requests from A Campaign for Real Milk have not been answered. According to Sally Fallon Morrell, president of The Weston A. Price Foundation: “Reports of individuals becoming ill after drinking raw milk do exist, . . . But even these reports do not usually provide proof that raw milk caused illness. When someone who drinks raw milk becomes ill, these agencies immediately report an ‘association’ with raw milk, ignoring other vectors of disease and subsequent tests showing the milk to be clean,” reports Fallon. “FDA and CDC definitely have a double standard when it comes to raw milk.” More about Government bias against raw milk . . .
RealSimple claims that it is “Good to know: Raw whole milk contains more calories and fat than pasteurized whole milk.” Raw milk probably has more calories than processed whole milk because all the cream has been removed from pasteurized, homogenized milk and only some of it has been added back even in “whole” milk–see my earlier post on raw milk mentioned above. “Whole” pasteurized, homogenized milk is not really “whole” at all. The only way to get real whole milk with all of it’s cream, vitamins (most of the vitamins are in the cream and are necessary for the body to fully utilize the calcium and other minerals that might remain in the skimmed milk), enzymes, etc., is to buy raw milk from a licensed raw milk dairy where the cows are pastured and grass-fed. Pasteurized, homogenized milk, even if organic, is not really whole, no matter how it’s labeled, and, therefore, cannot be the true “traditional” milk.
Conventional Dairies will continue to use their lobbyists to maintain their control of milk production. As stated by Dr. Mercola, “The conventional dairy industry, realizing this, has redoubled their efforts to make sure that raw milk sales are not able to grow, and certainly not able to become mainstream, where they could begin to threaten their very own livelihoods. If raw dairy really caught on, you would think that the dairy industry would simply follow suit and begin producing raw products to meet the demand. But this would be virtually impossible. Their business depends on pasteurization, [again, see my previous post "Milk – Why Homogenized, Pasteurized? Follow the Profit!"] and that is why their powerful lobbyists will stop at nothing to persuade government agencies to keep raw milk bans in full force.”
More information about the safety and health benefits of raw milk:
The 15 Things that Pasteurization Kills by Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy
Many articles from Dr. Mercola on the benefits of raw milk and the misleading (and just plain incorrect) claims of those opposed to raw milk: