Over the last couple of years, non-dairy milk like almond, soy, and even pea milk has been growing in popularity. Spend five minutes on Instagram or Tiktok and you’ll see!
I totally understand the desire to move away from homogenized milk. The milk is heated, over-processed, and filled with synthetic (fake) vitamins. Not to mention the inhumane treatment of the cow.
But if you don’t want to avoid dairy, unhomogenized whole milk is very different from homogenized milk.
The cows are typically in better conditions and the milk in a natural state. But what do all of these words mean? Homogenization, raw, pasteurization, organic, fat globules, farm processes, etc.?
Let’s dive into the components of the dairy industry and why we shouldn’t be scared of real, fresh food!
What Is the Difference Between Homogenized and Unhomogenized Milk?
Raw milk comes from grass-fed cows and is unpasteurized and unhomogenized. This is part of the reason it is so nutrient-dense and rich in many different vitamins.
While there is concern around raw milk, it’s unwarranted. It’s a statement that has been thrown around by the big food industry that tries to shut down small farms that produce unhomogenized milk. You are actually 35,000 times more likely to get sick from a variety of other foods than raw milk, according to medical researcher Dr. Ted Beals, M.D.
When milk is left on its own, or minimally pasteurized like non-homogenized milk, a layer of cream fat floats to the surface of the milk to create a thick layer of pure cream. On the other hand, milk is left un-homogenized, the fat molecules rise to the top and form a layer of cream, called the cream top. When milk is homogenized, the milk fat molecules are broken down and suspended throughout the milk, preventing separation.
Because homogenization makes milk from different cows the same, it reduces variation in its fat content and causes it to last longer on store shelves. As a result, big dairy producers actively favor homogenization, since it makes their products cheaper to produce and more profitable.
So Why Did the United States Switch to Homogenized Milk?
Milk is homogenized, not to alter its taste, but to give it a smooth texture and make it look like pure white. Homogenization prevents the cream from rising to the top of your milk and makes it look extra silky — it’s a process that doesn’t change how milk tastes or what’s in it.
Raw milk is just milk that has not been processed and is free-range, unhomogenized, and unpasteurized.
The heating and controversial debate about whether or not to consume raw milk is a serious matter for consumers. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), raw milk is a health risk for expecting mothers, children, and the elderly, in addition to infections of all types. But when compared to all the food-borne illnesses contracted each year, only 0.0005% are from nonhomogenized milk.
When you actually dive into the science, raw milk can help build up your immune system, reduce allergies, and kill bacteria, enzymes, and nutrients. When it comes to homogenized milk, the mechanical pasteurization kills all “good” bacteria, enzymes, and nutrients, which is why they have to add synthetic vitamins back in.
Benefits of Unhomogenized Milk
There is a wide range of benefits that can come with non-homogenized milk. Because the milk is heated minimally, the fat globules are throughout the product,
Great Source of Premium Quality Raw Protein
Non-homogenized milk is a rich source of raw nutrition for humans, with just one cup containing 8 grams of protein. It’s a unique type of protein that’s easier to digest than other types and provides the pure nutrition that the body needs.
Raw milk is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs for proper functioning. Raw milk is made up of casein and whey proteins, both high-quality proteins.
Casein makes up the majority of the protein found in cow’s raw milk, which contains over 70 percent casein protein and around 20% whey protein. Protein is known as the building block of your muscles, hair, nails, and skin. Eating raw protein foods, such as raw milk, leads to greater muscle growth and restores elasticity.
Raw milk has been scientifically proven to help athletes repair muscle damage. One notable study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that drinking raw milk after a workout can decrease muscle damage, promote muscle repair, increase strength and even decrease muscle soreness.
Plus, it is a step toward a healthier lifestyle. It’s an alternative to highly processed protein drinks that are marketed toward post-workout recovery.
Provides Bone Support
Drinking milk is associated with strong bones. These benefits are due to the powerhouse combination of nutrients found in milk, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and vitamin K2.
Approximately 99% of your body’s calcium is stored in its bones. Milk is an exceptional source of nutrients and vitamins for the body. It provides the necessary calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K for proper bone growth.
Milk and dairy products may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that calcium and other nutrients in milk products can help slow the progression of this bone disease. What’s more, milk is also a good source of protein, along with calcium. It makes up about 50% of bone volume and around one-third of bone mass.
Helps Prevent Weight Gain
Numerous studies have shown that raw milk consumption reduces the risk of obesity. Interestingly, this benefit has only been associated with whole raw milk consumption.
Raw milk is a healthy, nutrient-dense food that can help you lose weight. It’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which makes it a great source of energy. It can also help ward off cravings for unhealthy foods, so you don’t eat more calories than you need to.
Additionally, many studies have shown a connection between calcium consumption and reduced risk of obesity. Evidence suggests that people who eat higher amounts of calcium are less likely to become overweight or obese and that it can help to burn fat in the body while at the same time helping to maintain optimal bone support.
Nutrient Profile Non-Homogenized Milk
When it comes to non-homogenized milk, it’s packed with a variety of vitamins and nutrients that are easily absorbed. Some of these include:
- High levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
- Essential fatty acids
- Short-chain fatty acids
- Vitamins A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K2
- Whey protein
This type has a wide variety of nutrients makes it a nutritious choice for any healthy diet. Because of the mechanical process, it’s a great source of protein, and it contains naturally healthy polyunsaturated fats. It also has vitamin E, B vitamins, and other nutrients that are important for a healthy diet.
Is It Legal In the United States?
Unfortunately, seven states have banned the sale of raw milk directly to consumers, and federal law prohibits the distribution of the dried powder across state lines unless it is in transit to be pasteurized or used to make aged cheese. We can debate the reason behind this, but if you’re ever bored look into the world of big food.
What are Fat Globules?
When it comes to factory farm homogenized whole milk, the fat globules are dispersed throughout the entire milk due to the high pressure/mechanical process/homogenization process that the milk goes through. When it comes to organic non-homogenized, the light pasteurization creates a cream top that sits at the top of the milk. The cream top was always a staple until the early 20th century.
Is There a Taste Difference?
When homogenized milk goes through a high heat pressure pasteurization process not only do the nutrients get filtered out, but the flavor does too. On the other hand, non-homogenized milk has a thicker cream content and also tastes a bit sweeter. And not to mention natural!
I hope this helps you better understand the different types of milk and why I always drink fresh, naturally, minimally processed dairy. Time to go have a glass!
If you want to read more health-related topics:
- What Are PUFAs? And Why Should You Stay Away From Them?
- Liposomal Vitamin C: What’s The Hype Behind This New Vitamin Method?
- How To Make A Smoothie That Will Actually Fill You Up