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Health benefits and risks of processed supermarket milk

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What is healthy milk

Raw milk undergoes a process termed homogenisation in order to end up with an even consistency. This homogenisation process is quite simple, and consists of mixing and blending different batches of milk from different dairies. If left untouched, raw milk will separate into a light fatty layer on top, with the heavier liquid portion at the bottom.  Homogenisation turns milk into an emulsion, by decreasing the size of the fat particles, so that they are evenly distributed throughout the milk and no longer able to separate upon standing, as with the raw state.[1] [2]  This is achieved by passing the milk through a fine sieve, that breaks up the fatty globules into tiny pieces.  

It has previously been suggested that the widespread adoption of the homogenisation process could have an effect on health, potentially increasing the risk of heart disease for example, but there is currently no evidence to suggest that this is the case.[3] Some studies have actually suggested health benefits from homogenisation, such as increased ease with which milk is digested, due to smaller particles having a greater surface area on which digestive enzymes can work.[4] This is of particular benefit to individuals with diseases that impair fat digestion, e.g. gallstones or chronic pancreatitis.[5] However, for those people who are lactose intolerant, homogenising milk has no effect on the allergic response.

Pasteurisation is the process of heating of milk to a controlled temperature (145°F/62.8°C) for a fixed period of time (30 mins) to reduce the presence of dangerous bacteria without imposing any major changes to the chemistry of the milk. However, the process also kills harmless probiotics, which are in fact microorganisms that are beneficial to health by protecting against enteric infections and preventing the development of chemically induced tumours.[6][7] However these probiotics have the ability to destroy commensal bacteria such as Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli, creating a paradox enabling any residual harmful bacteria to flourish.[8] [9]  

Despite the potentially conflicting beneficial and detrimental effects of pasteurisation, it seems that the overall evidence suggests raw milk carries a far greater risk of bacterial infection than pasteurised milk,meaning it is probably safer to use pasteurised milk products than other, raw products.

 

[1] Lee, DK. & Kwak, HS. (1999) Cholesterol removal from homogenized milk with β-cyclodextrin. J Dairy Sci. 82(11). 2327-30.

[2] Cano-Ruiz, ME. & Richter, RL. (1997) Effect of homogenization pressure on the milk fat globule membrane proteins. J Dairy Sci. 80(11). 2732-9.

[3] Clifford, AJ. et al. (1983) Homogenized bovine milk xanthine oxidase: a critique of the hypothesis relating to plasmalogen depletion and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 38(2). 327-32.

[4] Lopez, C. et al.. (2015) Organization of lipids in milks, infant milk formulas and various dairy products: role of technological processes and potential impacts. Dairy Sci Technol. 95. 863-93.

[5] Berton, A. et al. (2012) Effect of size and interface composition of milk fat globules on their in vitro digestion by the human pancreatic lipase: native versus homogenized milk fat globules. Food Hydrocolloids. 29(1). 123-34.

[6] Foo, NP. et al. (2011). Probiotics prevent the development of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH)-induced colonic tumorigenesis through suppressed colonic mucosa cellular proliferation and increased stimulation of macrophages. J Agric Food Chem. 59(24). 13,337-45.

[7] Kumar, M. et al. (2012) Anticarcinogenic effect of probiotic fermented milk and chlorophyllin on aflatoxin-B1-induced liver carcinogenesis in rats. Br J Nutr. 107(7). 1006-16.

[8] Cross, ML. (2006) Microbes versus microbes: immune signals generated by probiotic lactobacili and their role in protection against microbial pathogens. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 34(4). 245-53.

[9] Hudault, S. et al.(1997) Antagonistic activity exerted in vitro and in vivo by Lactobacillus casei (strain GG) against Salmonella typhimurium C5 infection. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 63(2). 513-8.

 

 

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It's all true, but when you know those people who sell you raw milk and you are confident they won't give you anything dangerous, I think it's better to chose raw than  pasteurized. 

Edited by lachanceshe

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What a strange paradox about bacteria? Didn't hear it before. Anyway, my parents used to drink raw milk without doubts, because they bought it from their acquaintance and were confident in the product. But I'm not accustomed to raw milk and think that it's risky. Even if you confident in the seller, you cannot be confident in product. There are too many uncontrollable factors, which may cause infection in the cow and as a result infect the milk, and poorly checked for hygiene seller may not be aware about infection before someone gets sick.

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Agree that pasteurized milk is safer than 'raw' milk, but we shouldn't omit the fact that manufacturers usually add some chemicals to milk, particularly to increase its shelf life. I know that antibiotics and preservatives can be added. And they are not good for people.

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I've noted that 'organic milk' which we can find on the supermarkets shelves, has this light fatty layer on top as a raw milk, but it's not raw. I heard that it also pasteurized, but at milder conditions. And it makes it safe, but looking like 'raw' milk. I think that they just don't use homogenization.

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Some mothers prefer to feed their children with raw milk only. I am shocked when hear something like this. They consciously put their children at risk. I don't allow my children to drink unpasteurised milk.

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On 07.04.2017 at 0:15 PM, brewer83 said:

What a strange paradox about bacteria? Didn't hear it before. Anyway, my parents used to drink raw milk without doubts, because they bought it from their acquaintance and were confident in the product. But I'm not accustomed to raw milk and think that it's risky. Even if you confident in the seller, you cannot be confident in product. There are too many uncontrollable factors, which may cause infection in the cow and as a result infect the milk, and poorly checked for hygiene seller may not be aware about infection before someone gets sick.

You are absolutelly correct. I've found on a CDC website the same statement. "Illness can occur from the same brand and source of raw milk that people had been drinking for a long time without becoming ill" https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-questions-and-answers.html

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In many places of the world, especially developing and rural areas, where you won't find any supermarket with processed food products, people consume raw milk on constant basis and keeping milking cows and drikning straight as I bet they are healthy. So, as it was already said you just need to be confident in person who you buy milk from.

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Supermarker milk is definitely better! Every time I drink raw milk I have indigestion, hate it!

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Homogenisation and pasteurisation are only a part of "improvements" made to raw milk. Did you know that cows are treated in such a way that they produce much more milk than they would in natural conditions? It makes them less healthy and farmers feed their cows with antibiotics, which apperently will get into milk. Beside that, milk may contain many additives, such as vitamins, sweeteners and preservatives. Homogenisation and pasteurisation are the most inoffensive.

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