The Truth About Pasteurization
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High-Temp Pasteurization – Milk is heated to 161º for 31 seconds in order to sterilize the milk. The problem is that this also kills enzymes, much of the healthy microorganisms, and more importantly it denatures the proteins. Essentially, high-temp pasteurization kills the milk and makes it much more difficult for your body to digest. This can typically lead to inflammatory bowel disease, among others. I personally don’t drink pasteurized milk and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Ultra-Pasteurized – This is the majority of our milk today, what you would typically find in a grocery store. Ultra-pasteurization heats the milk to 280º for only a few seconds. The reason for using ultra-pasteurization is because it kills everything. Ultra pasteurization not only kills potentially harmful bacteria in the milk, but also damages all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients originally contained in the milk. This process also kills the healthy enzymes which help your body digest the milk, and drinking it without the enzymes can lead to lactose intolerance. I strongly recommend staying as far away as possible from ultra pasteurized milk whether organic or not.
Low-Temp Pasteurization – Milk is only heated to 145º. This is significant because it’s below the temperature that kills most of the beneficial enzymes and the proteins remain in-tact. The main downside to low-temp pasteurization is that some of the enzymes and probiotics can be damaged. But, by culturing (fermenting it with good bacteria) this dairy and making yogurt, kefir or amasai, many of those probiotics are added back. This also improves the digestibility of the dairy. Low-temp is the closest to raw milk products most of us in the US can get. If I can’t get raw milk, this is my next option. I would recommend consuming milk and other dairy products that have been low temperature pasteurized.
Raw Milk – Raw milk is never heated and will maintain all of the enzymes and other nutrients that support digestion and absorption. Today, you can buy raw cheeses at your local health food store and it’s legal to buy in all states because the cheeses are aged for 60 days or more. To buy raw milk, yogurt or kefir you can go to your local farmers market and buy it for yourself or your pet depending on state laws. If you want to see state laws check out this raw milk legal map.
Where to get it.
It can be difficult to find low-temp or raw dairy products, but some stores are starting to carry more of these products. Whole Foods carries some raw and low-temp pasteurized cheeses, some areas will have milk as well. All of the Beyond Organic products have been low-temp pasteurized and this is where I personally get all my cheese and cultured drinks.
Pasteurization, Homogenization and Raw Milk Resources
- Raw Milk Benefits
- Is Milk Hurting or Helping Your Bones?
- Pasteurization & Homogenization 101
- Raw Milk Myths