“Making informed nutrition and fitness-related decisions can be somewhat overwhelming for those in therapy for eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, binge eating disorder) and obesity. To this end, I’ve compiled a set of handouts to provide handy reference guides to both my readers and clients. You can view all my Nutrition and Fitness Handouts here. Be sure to check back frequently, as I am always adding new handouts to my list!”
With all the varieties of milk available in grocery stores today, it is very difficult to know which type of milk is the healthiest. In this post, I hope to provide both my patients and readers with some insight to make the decision-making process less stressful.
Today’s milk is much different from the milk our grandparents and great-grandparents drank. Much of the milk in stores today:
- comes from cows that produce A1 beta-casein
- comes from grain-fed cows
- is pasteurized (and in some cases ultra-pasteurized) and homogenized
- contains synthetic vitamins, antibiotics and growth hormones
- has dry milk added to improve consistency
We can avoid some of these unhealthy aspects of today’s milk by consuming milk from grass-fed cows when possible. Milk from grass-fed cows has many health benefits, including but not limited to:
- it contains five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
- it contains the perfect ratio of essential fatty acids. This can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, allergies, obesity, diabetes, dementia, and mental health disorders
- it contains more beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin D than grain-fed milk
So, what kind of milk should you buy? I’ve created a handy, quick-reference guide to use when making your decision.
*Raw milk is only legal for purchase in my area through cow-share programs. To find out the laws in your area, check here
The Cornucopia Institute recently did an in-depth investigation of over 100 organic dairy farms throughout the United States. They ranked each dairy based on organic farming practices and ethics. I’ve summarized some of the findings for some of the organic dairy farms that sell milk in the Cincinnati area (for readers outside of the Cincinnati area, you can find more dairy farm ratings here)
–Traders Point (milk and yogurt) was the only dairy farm in my area that was rated ‘Outstanding’ (5 out of 5 cow rating) (Snowville Creamery was not included in the report)
-Dairy farms that were rated ‘Excellent’ (4 out of 5 cow rating) include:
- Kalona Supernatural (milk and cheese)
- Julie’s Ice Cream
- Organic Valley
- Wallaby (yogurt and ice cream)
- Whole Foods 365 Organic Milk
- Stonyfield (yogurt and milk)
- Helios Kefir
- Lifeway Kefir
–Ben and Jerry’s Organic Ice Cream was the only locally available ice cream that was rated ‘Very Good’ (2 out of 5 cow rating)
-Dairy farms that were rated ‘some or all factory-farm milk or unknown source, but better than conventional’ (1 out of 5 cow rating)*
- Kirkland Signature Organic Milk (Costco)
- Naturally Preferred Organic Milk (Kroger)
- Meijer Organic Milk
- Trader Joe’s Organic Milk
- Archer Farm’s Organic Milk (Target)
-Dairy farms that were rated ‘Ethically Deficient’ (0 out of 5 cow rating)* include:
*There were no ‘1 cow rated farms’ or ‘0 cow rated farms’ that agreed to participate in the investigation, so score was based on information that was publicly available
Although milk has changed over time, we can still make healthy decisions by becoming informed consumers. Thanks to institutes like Cornucopia, we can gain much knowledge about where our food is coming from.
Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.
© 2011, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.
Please credit ‘© 2011, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com)’.
photo used under creative commons license, flickr user kakie