Organic vs Non-Organic Milk?




There has been an ongoing battle about organic foods being higher in nutrients than conventionally grown foods.  To date, both are nutritionally equivalent.  Brown eggs contain the same nutritional value as white eggs–they just come from different chickens.  Recently, a study came out about the benefits of organic milk.  The study, “Organic production enhances milk nutritional quality by shifting fatty acid composition: A United States-wide, 18-month study” shows statistically significant, yet small differences in the fatty acid profiles of organic and regular whole milk.  The authors modeled different eating patterns and found that switching to a high level of intake of mostly full-fat, organic dairy products can markedly reduce a person’s omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.  The study’s authors claim people are better off switching to full-fat, organic dairy foods from regular, low-fat dairy foods compared with adding fish to their diets:

Facts to Consider:

  • Both organic and regular milk deliver a powerhouse of nutrients in an appealing, affordable and readily available way.
  • A glass of whole milk contributes a small fraction of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids we need each day.
  • The main sources of omega-6 and omega-3 in the American diet are vegetable oils. Changing the types and amounts of oils used in foods and cooking represents a better means of altering one’s ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids than switching from regular to organic milk.
  • Milk delivers a powerhouse of nutrients in an appealing, affordable and readily available way. Research shows organic and regular milk are equally safe and nutritious. So, you can feel good about choosing either kind, because all milk is made with sound on-farm practices and offers the same nutrition.
  • Dairy farmers across the country are committed to producing high quality milk and maintaining proper animal care and environmental practices on their farms.
  • Organic dairy farms must also meet the requirements of USDA’s National Organic Program. Under the rules, organic dairy farmers must demonstrate that they use only organic fertilizers and pesticides, that their cows have access to pasture during the grazing season (at least 120 days per year) and that they do not use antibiotics or supplemental hormones.  As a dietitian, I’m well aware that a one-size-fits-all healthy diet doesn’t work for everyone these days.  We all want to do the best we can for our families and our health.  I choose fat-free milk for my family to keep calories in check.  Health experts recommend low-fat and fat-free milk since it has all the nutrition of whole milk, with fewer calories.  Whole, reduced-fat, low-fat and fat-free milk have many essential nutrients that are important to health and wellness — calcium, potassium, Vitamins A, D and B12, protein, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), phosphorus, Niacin (niacin equivalents).   I will continue to recommend low-fat and fat-free milk everyday for everyone over the age of two.  Milk still does a body good!  Have a glass (or three) today!

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