Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
Researchers at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University have published a study that finds more nutrients–including heart-healthy fatty acids and proteins–in organic milk than in non-organic milk. NBC News has more:
“There’s really no debate around the world — when you feed dairy cows more grass, you improve the fatty acid profile of milk. You also increase the protein level,” [study author Charles] Benbrook says. On the other hand, cows fed a corn-based diet produce milk that’s higher in omega-6 fatty acids.
The reason organic milk is healthier comes down to its ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which is lower than in regular milk. A diet containing too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3s has been linked to heart disease, as well as cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. That’s because your gut converts omega-6s to arachidonic acid, which can cause inflammation. But the anti-inflammatory powers of omega-3s help to counterbalance that reaction, which is why keeping that ratio low is so important. (An omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 2.3 to 1 is best for heart health, research suggests.)
“It’s true that both omega 6s and omega 3s are essential – we have to have some of them,” Benbrook says. “But it’s when they get out of balance, the adverse health effects appear to kick in.”
If organic milk is out of your budget, conventional milk is still OK – but choose whole milk, rather than skim or 2 percent. “The heart-healthy fatty acids in milk are part of milk’s overall fat content,” Benbrook says. “This benefit will be reduced about 50 percent when people choose 2 percent fat milk, and by about two-thirds when purchasing skim or low-fat dairy products.”
Even if you don’t consume dairy, Benbrook says the larger message here is to try to cut back on foods that are very high in soybean or corn oil, both of which have high omega-6 to omega-3 ratios – things like fried foods, or chips.
Learn how to make healthy homemade baby food with our guide. Then, check out which 20 snacks kids find irresistible.
Image: Glass of milk, via Shutterstock
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Valentine's Day Treats: Strawberry Milk
dairy, milk, nutrition, omega-3 fatty acids, organic food, organic milk, organics, protein, whole milk | Categories:
Child Health, Must Read, New Research
Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
Chobani, the makers of a popular brand of Greek yogurt, has voluntarily pulled a number of its products from shelves amid reports that the yogurt cups are “swelling” and “bloating,” possibly due to an overgrowth of a kind of mold that grows in dairy products. The company has not issued a formal recall, and it says the issue only affects 5 percent of its total inventory nationwide. The affected containers are marked with the code 16-012 and expiration dates Sept. 11-Oct. 7. More from the Christian Science Monitor:
Chobani, which is based in New Berlin, N.Y., did not say how many of its cups or what varieties were affected. The effort was voluntary, and it is not issuing a formal recall.
A representative for Kroger, the nation’s largest traditional supermarket operator, said Chobani issued a product withdrawal Friday. “It was not a food safety issue,” Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey said in an e-mail.
On Tuesday, Chobani was responding to people who were complaining about their yogurt cups on Twitter. One person described her cup as “unnervingly fizzy,” another said the cups were like “yogurt soup” and another said it tasted like “wine.”
Yet another person said the strawberry flavor they bought tasted “really old.”
Chobani, which says it uses only high-quality, natural ingredients, has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2005.
Greek yogurt in general has surged in popularity as well, with fans saying they prefer its thicker consistency and relatively higher protein content when compared with the sweeter yogurt varieties that have long been sold in American supermarkets.
Image: Empty yogurt container, via Shutterstock
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Monday, May 6th, 2013
One hundred forty eight people across four states were sickened in January 2012 with camphylobacter bacteria that was traced back to raw, or unpasteurized milk sold by a Pennsylvania dairy farm. As MSNBC.com reports, the milk outbreak affected people from ages 2 to 74, and is particularly alarming because the dairy had all its proper permits, and had passed all inspections required for selling unpasteurized milk:
The [CDC] report, which details what happened during the outbreak, said the dairy that sold the milk had a permit for selling unpasteurized milk, and had passed all inspections. The farm was among the largest sellers of unpasteurized milk in the state.
The dairy also tested its own milk for E. coli bacteria more often than was required. The vast majority of the sick people drank the milk before its “best by” date.
The only deficiencies that investigators found were that a mechanical milk bottle capper was broken, so employees had capped the bottles by hand, and that the water used to clean equipment was cooler than recommended (110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, instead of 160 to 170 degrees F).
But these issues were “minimal,” and this campylobacter outbreak demonstrates “the ongoing hazards of unpasteurized dairy products,” according to the report authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments. The findings were detailed online April 26 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“Raw milk is riskier than most foods,” said Douglas Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University. While certainly a larger number of people get sick yearly from eating tainted tomatoes or lettuce, there are many more consumers of those foods than consumers of raw milk, he said.
Bacteria commonly found in the digestive tracts of farm animals, including campylobacter and E. coli O157, can easily find their way into milk as it is pumped and bottled on a farm, Powell said.
“Fecal matter just ends up in the milk — it’s not like you can see it,” he said. “No inspectors can see it — this isn’t CSI, where the bacteria just magically line up.”
Nearly a third of those sickened in the outbreak were children, the report said. Children, along with pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems, are at high risk of complications from campylobacter infections.
Powell said he advises that raw milk not be given to children. “As adults, you’re free to choose,” he said. “But don’t give it to your kids.”
Image: Milk via Shutterstock
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