Pasteurization & Homogenization 101

Pasteurized Milk, Gallon Milk at grocery store Most of us take it for granted that milk and other foods are pasteurized and homogenized. When certain practices go unquestioned, we accept them as being “just the way things are.” But pasteurization and homogenization denature foods. They alter the chemical structure of food, make fats rancid, destroy nutrients and result in the formation of free radicals in the body.

It’s not just dairy anymore either. Pasteurization is used on everything from fruit juices to shelled nuts.

Many people choose not to “do dairy” at all, but among those that do; you should know that there’s a big difference between pasteurized milk and raw milk and many myths about both.

Pasteurization of milk

The Industrial Revolution created the first farm factories: dairy lots within city limits alongside distilleries. Unsanitary conditions in the new urban environments led to the development of pasteurization: heating milk to high temperatures in order to destroy all disease-causing bacteria and pathogens. It was a cheap alternative to sanitary inspections and regulation. People in the 1800’s and 1900’s had to be convinced that pasteurized milk was better than raw. A huge marketing campaign that involved industrialists and government agencies began and still continues today. Many people are horrified at the idea of drinking milk in its natural state.

Conditions, machinery and regulation today make clean milk possible whether it is pasteurized or raw. Pasteurization today, as it did so many years ago, allows dairy cows to be handled and processed in many unsanitary and inhumane ways as long as the milk is pasteurized in the end.

Pasteurization denatures milk in multiple ways. The process destroys vitamin A completely and destroys about 38% of B vitamins. It weakens or destroys vitamin C. It destroys the enzyme phosphatase, which is needed to absorb calcium. It alters or destroys many amino acids, reducing the digestibility of protein in milk by 17%. Alterations in milk proteins can often trigger an immune response.

Beneficial bacteria is destroyed by pasteurization processes too–bacteria that prevents milk from decomposing. Raw milk sours while pasteurized milk goes rancid.

Homogenization of milk

Homogenization is a high-pressure process that breaks down fat into tiny particles so that they stay suspended. This gives milk, peanut butter and other foods a creamy consistency. Fat subjected to high heat and pressure oxidizes—it becomes rancid.

Reduced fat milks are thickened by the addition of powdered milk. Powdered milk is also oxidized fat.

Homogenized products have been linked to rising rates of cancer and heart disease.

Ultra High Temperature Pasteurization (UHT)

UHT products are especially denatured. You will often see that organic milk sold in stores is Ultra Pasteurized. The very high temperatures used in UHT products alter and destroy proteins and enzymes to a very high degree. UHT milk is so unnatural that bacteria won’t go near it. It can last without refrigeration for up to 50 days in plastic bottles and up to 6 months in aseptic containers.

When we eat or drink foods that have been pasteurized and homogenized, the increase in unusable proteins forces the body to quickly use up many enzymes and other vital nutrients to process it. Pastereurized milk can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Protein, fat and sugar particles in denatured milk easily pass through the intestinal lining and cause inflammation and allergic reactions.

Every day, more foods are pasteurized to make up for unsanitary conditions, destroying the natural bacteria and enzymes that would normally counteract the growth of pathogens.

Sources

Raw Milk Facts (2010)

Dr. Joseph Mercola (2007)

Real Milk (2003)

Josh Axe

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