There has been a great deal of media attention surrounding the quality of the home brand milk being sold by our major supermarket chains, as well as the raw deal that our farmers are receiving in relation to remuneration for all their hard work. That being the case I thought I would focus on the health benefits you will receive when purchasing from our hard working independent farmers.
Unfortunately, unlike Europe, it is illegal to sell 'raw' milk in Australia which means that all milk we purchase has to be processed. Raw milk is exactly as it sounds, fresh from the cow and bottled without any interference from us humans. Hopefully one day we might review our laws, but until then we have the choice of homogenised and pasteurised, pasteurised only, low fat, A2, skim, 2% fat and so on and so on with the list seemingly endless. Pasteurised is the minimum requirement, and means that the milk must be heat treated to kill any bacteria that may be present. You don't however have to purchase milk that has also been homogenised. Considering that we should be consuming less processed foods overall, I would recommend that you purchase full fat pasteurised only milk. The good news is that it's our smaller independent producers that make this product.
So what are the health benefits of full fat pasteurised only milk from our independent producers?
- Take out the fat and you are denying yourself access to those wonderful fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A. Retinol, the active form of Vitamin A, is necessary for the health of your eyes (think retina), your skin and skeleton, soft tissue, mucus membranes and even your teeth.
- Homogenisation requires the fat globules in milk to be subjected to incredibly high amounts of pressure ensuring that the fat is evenly spread throughout the milk. While the idea of the fat being spread evenly throughout the milk sounds good, this is another level of processing that we don't need. There is also evidence to suggest that this process, which changes the natural structure of milk, may actually contribute to allergic reactions.
- Pasteurised only milk comes with the wonderful benefits of saturated fats. Recent studies of these fats have shown a decrease in obesity levels, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease for those that consume them.
- Choice recently found that some of the cheaper 'full cream' milk brands were lower in fat than those produced by smaller dairy companies due to a process called skimming. Manufacturers were found to be skimming the cream from the milk prior to bottling and using it for other dairy products such as dairy desserts and butter.
Today I have focused on the benefits of purchasing from our independent farmers over mass produced milk, but milk contains many other vitamins and minerals. Next time you reach for a bottle of milk think about how processed it is, the quality of the product and where it comes from. Your health is worth the money, help our farmers to continue providing us with quality fuel for our bodies.