• Hana Kovac

A Dark Side of Pasteurized Milk

Sometimes, myths in nutrition have a very long life. Remember we were told to eat a low-fat diet? Debunked! Fat is actually good for you. Drinking milk to get calcium is one of those repeated myths which are reinforced by the dairy industry. However, if you or your children drink pasteurized milk, you are doing your body more harm than good. Here's why.

Vitamin D

Industrial milk is not a natural source of fat-soluble vitamin D. Milk is only fortified with synthetic vitamin D, most of the time low-quality and less bioavailable. In order for milk to naturally provide quality vitamin D, the cows would need to live outdoors in sunshine and consume pasture which is not the case with conventionally raised cows.


Yogurt has more calcium than milk and is easier to digest. Collards and other greens also have about as much or more calcium than milk by the cup. Greens, unlike milk, have the added benefit of vitamin K, also necessary for strong bones. Sesame, tahini, blackstrap molasses are also very high in calcium.

The Dangers of Pasteurized Milk

Pasteurized milk has no important health benefits at all. Pasteurization has been observed to lower or even extinguish the nutrients found in milk. Pasteurized milk consumers actually have a higher chance of ingesting chemicals and other toxins from conventional dairy factories. Because of pasteurization and other filtering processes, factory milk producers are allowed to raise cows in unhealthy, cramped environments, where they are fed an unnatural diet of grains and corn. This is mainly because they are dependent on pasteurization’s ability to kill off pathogens or filter antibiotics that may have leaked into their milk products. Pasteurization removes the essential nutrients and compounds that are beneficial to the human body. This process deactivates the enzymes that are necessary for the human digestion of milk, kills off the good bacteria that may be beneficial to the human body, alters the calcium content and removes most of the vitamin C in raw milk.

There is one more worrisome culprit when drinking conventional milk. Milk naturally contains estrogenic hormones. Dairy industry adds synthetic hormones to milk and other dairy products and there might be a link between earlier onset of puberty and increased obesity rates due to these hormones.[1]

The take home message is that you should strictly avoid drinking milk and eating dairy products from conventionally raised cows. Beware all supermarket homogenized, skim, non-fat, fat-free, reduced-fat and UHT milk.

In moderation, milk can be enjoyed by people without lactose intolerance, but it should come from a certified farm, raw or fermented. You will find more about benefits of drinking raw milk in my next post.

[1] The Dirt Cure, Maya Shetreat-Klein, MD

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