The Health Hype:
Raw milk advocates claim that unprocessed milk is healthier because pasteurization destroys
nutrients and the enzymes necessary to absorb calcium. It also kills beneficial bacteria and
is associated with allergies, arthritis, and other diseases, they say.
This is simply not the case, says Sheehan. Research has shown that there is no significant
difference in the nutritional value of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk, he says. The
caseins, the major family of milk proteins, are largely unaffected, and any modification
in whey protein that might occur is barely perceptible.
"Milk is a good source of the vitamins thiamine, folate, B-12, and riboflavin," adds Sheehan,
"and pasteurization results in losses of anywhere from zero to 10 percent for each of these,
which most would consider only a marginal reduction."
While the major nutrients are left unchanged by pasteurization, vitamin D, which enhances
the body's absorption of calcium, is added to processed milk. Vitamin D is not found in
significant levels in raw milk.
"Pasteurization will destroy some enzymes," says Barbara Ingham, Ph.D., associate professor
and extension food scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "But the enzymes that
are naturally present in milk are bovine enzymes. Our bodies don't use animal enzymes to
help metabolize calcium and other nutrients."
"Enzymes in the food that we eat and drink are broken down in the human gastrointestinal
tract," adds Ingham. "Human bodies rely on our own native enzymes to digest and metabolize
"Most of the native enzymes of milk survive pasteurization largely intact," says Sheehan,
"including those thought to have natural antimicrobial properties and those that contribute
to prolonging milk's shelf life." Other enzymes that survive are thought to play a role in
Ingham says that pasteurization will destroy bacteria that may be helpful in the fermentation
of milk into products such as cheese and yogurt, "but the benefit of destroying the harmful
bacteria vastly outweighs the supposed benefits of retaining those helpful microorganisms.
Plus, by adding the microorganisms that we need for fermentation, we can assure a consistently
high quality product."
Science has not shown a connection between drinking raw milk and disease prevention. "The
small quantities of antibodies in milk are not absorbed in the human intestinal tract,"
says Ingham. "And there is no scientific evidence that raw milk contains an anti-arthritis
factor or that it enhances resistance to other diseases."
Fans of raw milk often cite its creamy rich taste, says Szalkucki, who adds that it is
creamier because it is not made according to the standards for processed milk. "If you go
to a grocery store and buy fluid milk, it's been standardized for a certain percentage of
FAT, such as 2 percent," he says. "Raw milk is potentially creamier because it has not
been standardized and it has a higher more unhealthy fat content."
In Moderation Most Cheese Is Good Food. BUT TRY AN AMISH CHEESE TODAY !